The Dream of the Doctor is one of the most amusing and intriguing of Dürer's engravings. Despite the vague traditional title, the true subject of this print was well understood at its time. Giorgio Vasari knew the engraving and gave a good description of it: A man is sleeping by a stove. In his dream Venus, standing next to him, is tempting him, while Amor is amusing himself and tries to walk on stilts. The Devil is blowing into his ear with bellows. Of course, there is a moral lesson and a warning here: Sloth leads to graver sins, to lust and wantonness, and earthly love is fickle.
In spite of this, Albrecht Dürer approached the subject rather light-heartedly, and few of his figures are more charming than the little winged putto, playing with his ball and precariously trying to balance on stilts.