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
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