Object Image

An Anxious Moment

A gaggle of geese react to the discovery of a squashed, black top hat in their path. Their emotions range from curiosity and consternation to concern, anxiety and outright fear. The Victorian interest in animal psychology was explored in the research of Charles Darwin, whose Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was published in 1872.

Briton Riviere specialised in animal painting. He was much praised for his ability to depict animal feeling without anthropomorphising his subjects, that is, giving them human characteristics. He made rigorous anatomical studies of bones and muscles from live animals at London Zoo, and even kept a lion carcass in his studio.

Early critics considered this...

Oil on canvas
66.0 x 101.5cm

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