Briton Riviere

Beyond Man’s Footsteps

exhibited 1894

On loan

Musée d’Orsay (Paris, France): The Origins. The rise and fall of Nature at the age of Darwin

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

Display caption

This dramatic icy landscape represents the Arctic as a place of extreme and sublime beauty. Humans are nowhere to be seen and the polar bear reigns. Animal painter Briton Rivière painted the scene from his imagination based on written accounts of Arctic explorers, with the bear itself drawn from one in London Zoo. Rivière was interested in his friend Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution and the relationship of animals to humans.

Gallery label, September 2020

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