As its name suggests, the Neoclassical period drew upon elements from classical antiquity. Archaeological ruins of ancient civilizations in Athens and Naples that were discovered at the time reignited a passion for all things past, and artists strove to recreate the great works of ancient art. This translated to a renewed interest in classical ideals of harmony, simplicity, and proportion.
Neoclassical artists were influenced by classical elements; in particular, a focus on idealism. Inevitably, they also included modern, historically relevant depictions in their works. For example, Italian sculptor Antonio Canova drew upon classical elements in his marble sculptures, but avoided the cold artificiality that was represented in many of these early creations.