1569 Jacques Le Fevre “Master IF” - Metalcut of the PROPHET JOHN - Religious Art
Leaf: 11.7 x 7.8 cm
Le Fevre is gallicised version of John Faber.
Jacob Faber or Jakob Faber, also known as the "Master IF" from the monogram on his prints, was a formschneider ("block-cutter") of woodcuts and metalcuts, engraver, designer of decorative prints (alphabets, borders etc.) and publisher. Faber was active in the period 1516-1550, in Basel in Switzerland and subsequently in France.
Jacob Faber is a German form of what was presumably his original name, Jacques Lefèvre, a common French name – the equivalent of John Smith – shared by several other figures active in similar circles at the period; the main ones are mentioned below. Faber was especially noted for the many metalcut title-page borders and book illustrations he made to designs by Hans Holbein the Younger in Basel in the 1520s.
The earliest known metalcut produced in Basel is from a book printed by Froben in 1518, when Faber had already been working for Froben for two years; this is very likely to be by Faber, who in any case soon became Froben's main cutter in metal. Between 1520 and 1523, Faber executed metalcuts designed by Hans Holbein the Younger, at first exclusively. His early technique was relatively crude, using long parallel hatching lines for shadows that took little account of the volumes of figures and space. However, his work improved rapidly, presumably for two reasons. Firstly, Holbein, who was himself progressing markedly in his grasp of printmaking, probably took a closer personal interest in Faber's execution, after at first merely handing over his designs and leaving the style to the cutter.
The metalcut possessed an advantage over the woodcut in close hatching because fine print lines between the furrows in the wood would sometimes break, marring the print.