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When the great Velazquez was painting his masterpieces at the Spanish court in the seventeenth century, his colors were expertly mixed and his canvases carefully prepared by his slave, Juan de Pareja. In a vibrant vel which depicts both the beauty and the cruelty of the time and place, Elizabeth Borton de Trevi tells the story of Juan, who was born a slave and died an accomplished and respected artist. Upon the death of his indulgent mistress in Seville, Juan de Pareja was uprooted from the only home he had kwn and placed in the charge of a vicious gypsy muleteer to be sent rth to his mistress's nephew and heir, Diego Velazquez, who recognized at once the intelligence and gentle breeding which were to make Juan his indispensable assistant and companion--and his lifelong friend. Through Juan's eyes the reader sees Velazquez's delightful family, his working habits and the character of the man, his relations with the shy yet devoted King Philip IV and with his fellow painters, Rubens and Murillo, the climate and customs of Spanish court life. When Velazquez discovers that he and Juan share a love for the art which is his very life, the painter proves his friendship in the most incredible fashion, for in those days it was forbidden by law for slaves to learn or practice the arts. Through the hardships of voyages to Italy, through the illnesses of Velazquez, Juan de Pareja loyally serves until the death of the painter in 1660.I, Juan de Pareja is the winner of the 1966 Newbery Medal.Lati Interest.
Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (1904-2000) was the highly acclaimed author of many books for young people. Born in California, it was her move to Mexico in the 1930s that inspired many of her books, including El Guero: A True Adventure Story and Leona: A Love Story. She won the Newbery Medal in 1966 for I, Juan de Pareja.