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Publisher's Summary

In the era of Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyke, Spain had its own great painter: Diego Velasquez. His assistant is an African slave, Juan, who, by helping his master in his studio in the preparation of paints and stretching of canvasses, becomes an artist himself. Self-taught by watching his master's technique, he is torn between the need to keep his secret, for such work as the creation of art is forbidden to slaves, and the desire to reveal his own talents.
©1965 Elizabeth Borton de Trevino; (P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Ralph on 11-13-10

Beautiful, just beautiful!

We chose this book from the suggested literature list in The Story of the World, Activity Book 3: Early Modern Times. I had never heard of the book and with younger children, we decided to use the audio version. I am so glad we did! As a read-a-loud to the children it would have lacked the fluid speech that this book deserves. The narrator brings Juan to life in a way that I never could have done.

My children are 10, 8 and 6. There were a few points in the book where I needed to stop and explain the situation. Also, the scene in the monastery where there is a discussion about live models for the crucifixes required some discussion about death, life and customs of the times.

The book itself is tragic, painful, heart-wrenching and beautiful. At times there are beatings and cruelty, yet there is a greater priority on love and redemption. It is a rich and beautiful story of a slave looking back on his life. Without giving anything away, we shed many tears together during this book.

I will say this, only two chapters in, the children were asking if we could listen to the book several times over! It was just beautiful! We will gladly listen again and again!

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Mom on 11-06-17

a must for History or Art lovers

This is what a living history book should be. ..full of imagination based in strong historic events. We loved looking up the works of Art as we journeyed through Juan's story! Really a must read for your 1600-1700 history time frame to get a look inside Spanish life, other artists, slavery, and such. truly moving and a favorite of the whole family!

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