Born the son of a tailor on August 13, 1746 at Pont-à-Marc near Lille, Roland studied under Augustin Pajou (1730-1809); he assisted his teacher in such decorative projects as the Versailles Opera House. At his own expense, Roland studied five years in Italy, then became agréé at the Academy in 1782 with a terracotta figure, The Death of Cato (Louvre), though he never reached the title of full academician. His planned reception piece, a statue of Samson only survives as a wax sketch (Louvre; marble was lost). An early work, Study of an Old Man (1783; Musée d'Angers) relies heavily upon Pajou's treatment of the same theme from 1761.
Between 1783 and 1785 Roland, along with Jean-Guillaume Moitt
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