I, Juan De Pareja

I, Juan De Pareja

Book - 1965
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Told through the eyes of Velasquez's slave and assistant, this vibrant novel depicts both the beauty and the cruelty of 17th century Spain and tells the story of Juan, who was born a slave and died a respected artist.
Latino Interest.
Publisher: New York, Bell Books 1965
ISBN: 9780374435257
Characteristics: 180 p.,22 cm.


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IndyPL_SteveB Jul 14, 2019

A fine historical novel for young people, based on the lives of noted Spanish painter, Diego Velazquez and his Spanish/African slave (later assistant), Juan de Pareja. The story takes place in the middle and late 1600’s and is told in first person by Juan, beginning from his life as a slave child. When his master and mistress die, he is inherited by the noted painter Velazquez. Juan’s life as a slave is comparatively fortunate, because his first set of owners are kindly and then Velazquez grows to see him as his primary assistant. However, Juan sees a taste of what a slave’s life could be when traveling between masters with a sadistic mule driver.

After a few years, Velazquez becomes the painter for the Spanish court and becomes famous all over Europe. At the same time, Juan has been learning to paint, too, but in secret, because slaves in Spain were forbidden to participate in the arts. When Juan confesses to the King and to Velazquez by showing them one of his works, Velazquez immediately gives Juan his freedom.

The story is moving and gives children an understanding of European slavery, different in some respects from American slavery, and of the intense love of art that can change a person.

Lovestoread5 Jul 11, 2018

I really thought I wouldn't like this book too much, but in fact, I did! It's a wonderful story; well written, fast-paced, and the author makes you like the main characters as well. It's imaginative and the reader gets to go on the travels with Master and Juanico from Spain to Italy. Great friendship story.

Mar 12, 2018

Beautifully written. Excellent story of a slave who wants to be a painter like his master. The author masterfully illustrates the personalities of each character. Very Highly Recommended.

May 21, 2017

Fascinating book, I had never heard about Juan before.

Apr 30, 2017

Excellent book and a wonderful read. Also, very educational and close to the truth about the personages' lives. My son and I loved this and it is probably one of the best children's books we've ever read.

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