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    Sale 7375

    The Genius of the German Renaissance: Prints by Albrecht Dürer

    4 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 40

    Albrecht Dürer

    The Small Fortune (B. 78; M., Holl. 71; S.M.S. 5)

    Price Realised  


    Albrecht Dürer
    The Small Fortune (B. 78; M., Holl. 71; S.M.S. 5)
    engraving, circa 1495, a good but slightly later Meder b impression, without watermark, trimmed just inside the platemark on three sides and 10 mm. into the blank area at the top, a short skilful repair at the left edge
    S. 108 x 65 mm.

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    The small Fortune is the first nude in Dürer's printed work. It is a precursor of the famous Great Fortune (see previous lot), albeit on a much smaller scale. Whilst the figure in the larger work reigns supreme over the fate of men, the powers of The small Fortune are not quite so all-encompassing. The figure of the woman balancing on a ball holding a thistle has always been read as an allegory for the fickleness of earthly love. The thistle is a symbol of love and lust - we also see one growing on the grassy bench in The Ravisher (lot 1) - while the motif of the ball occurs again in The Dream of the Doctor (lot 26), where it serves to illustrate a similar idea.

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