Briton Riviere

Beyond Man’s Footsteps

exhibited 1894

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Briton Riviere 1840–1920
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1190 x 1845 mm
frame: 1590 x 2255 x 150 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1894
Reference
N01577

Display caption

The animal painter Briton Rivière was interested in Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution and the relationship of animals to man. Beyond Man’s Footsteps represents the Arctic as a place of extreme and sublime beauty where man is, as yet, nowhere to be seen and the polar bear reigns. Rivière did not visited the region, and based his painting on a captive bear in London Zoo and on dramatic written accounts of Arctic explorers.

Gallery label, February 2016

Features

Tate Paper

The Arctic Fantasies of Edwin Landseer and Briton Riviere: Polar Bears, Wilderness and Notions of the Sublime

Nineteenth-century images of the Arctic suggest that the sublime lost its religious and moral dimensions. While Frederic Church’s painting ...

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Up close and personal

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