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.