Briton Riviere

Beyond Man’s Footsteps

exhibited 1894

Not on display
Briton Riviere 1840–1920
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1190 x 1845 mm
frame: 1590 x 2255 x 150 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1894

Display caption

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

Gallery label, January 2019

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.


Tate Etc

Up close and personal: Tate Britain New Displays II

Amanda Delew , Pen Hadow , Chris Stephens , Peter Peri and Michael Bracewell

Tate Britain’s recent rehang, which follows a broadly chronological sequence, includes focused individual displays that highlight new research as ...

Tate Papers

Tate Papers no.13: Spring 2010

Tate Papers no.13, Spring 2010 edition, featuring papers on The Sublime Object
Tate Papers

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

Diana Donald

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


You might like