Since Vasari's time this engraving has been understood to depict a noble lady in love with her page. However, as Rainer Schoch has pointed out, this is not an anecdote from the chivalrous 15th Century, but very much a theme from Dürer's own time; love in the time of war. A soldier says goodbye to his lover as he goes off to battle. They gently touch and gaze lovingly into each others' eyes. As a farewell gift, the lansquenet has given her his plumed hat, of similar design to the one depicted in the Little Courier (see next lot).
This is clearly a secular and non-mythological subject - one is tempted to call it a genre scene - and yet it is not without allegorical meaning. Like so many of Dürer's early prints, it is a meditation on the nature of love. Charming and sentimental as it is, The Lady on Horseback and the Lansquenet is also a satire on the power of women, for it is the woman who sits high on the horse, proudly sporting her lover's flamboyant gift.