From the introduction:
This art component not only brings the issue of art into the game—illustrating that history inevitably subsumes multiple intellectual disciplines--but it also causes several other crucial issues to percolate more fully throughout the game. The first concerns the value of tradition as intellectual heritage: conservatives often find it difficult to make a strong case for “their” world view. Who can support hereditary nobility and monarchy nowadays? But the Royal Academies promoted and symbolized the power of intellectual tradition. This applies equally well to art and music, science, medicine and engineering. The Enlightenment was advanced chiefly through royal patronage. Inclusion of the art elements underscores the contrast between rationalism (science, medicine) and intellectual aesthetics (Bach and Rameau in music, and classical art), on the one hand, and Rousseau and the radical’s enshrinement of the "simple life" and its disdain for science and institutions of learning (Rousseau’s First Discourse). The issue here culminates in a debate over whether the royal academies—which had generated advances in all branches of human endeavor—should be shut down and replaced by more democratic (and perhaps less intellectually elite) institutions.
A second issue concerns gender. The central role of women as Section Leaders surfaces intermittently in the game, but the Salon of 1791 brings the issue to the fore in a vivid way: should women be admitted to the painting academies? Forward-thinking noblemen and noblewomen were often visible as patrons and actual workers in the arts and sciences; by contrast, David, a Jacobin leader, insists, with Rousseau, that women focus on their “proper” roles in rearing virtuous citizens. In short, conservatives accept a measure of women’s liberation; the Jacobins do not. Inclusion of the female Section Leader, who seeks to promote her sister’s career as painter, generates friction between the Jacobins and female Section Leaders—foreshadowing a later phase of the revolution.
A third issue concerns the role of art as form of political activism. Many proponents of art claim that some forms of art can encourage people to look at familiar problems in new ways; art thus promotes activism. Jacques-Louis David was arguably one of the first of the activist artists.