E.T. L., 19th Century
Picnic on the River Nive, Pas de Roland Gorge , France , 1878

inscribed on the mount  " Pas de Roland 1878"

pencil and watercolour
15 x 23 cm.


According to legend, Roland, Charlemagne's nephew , passed through this site in August 778, riding on horseback towards the pass which will allow him to repel the Saracens (in reality the Basque Vasconne militia) in Spain with the help of his army . However, a large impassable rock blocked his way. A first legend tells that this cavity was dug by a hoof from the Roland horse. A second relates that unable to continue his path, Roland brandished his sword (named Durandal) and cut a passage himself to cross this obstacle with his soldiers. Legendary myth or natural collapse enlarged by man to pass a mule track? The mystery remains. Unfortunately, legend also tells that the brave Roland died shortly after this episode, on August 12, 778 at the pass known as "Col de Roncevaux" at the feet of Spain, during a confrontation against the Saracens.