This panel is from Palazzo Pola in Treviso, a rare survival from a domestic balcony. Part of the front facade, the splendid balcony would have been a gathering point for people within the building and a show of status to the outside world.
The palace, built about 1490, carried a traditional attribution to Pietro Lombardo. Pietro's shop was active in Treviso from 1486 and executed a number of sculptural and architectural projects, among them the monument to Bishop Zanetti in the Cathedral and the tomb of Agostino Onigo in San Nicolo. The Place balconies have strong stylistic affinity with these Trevisian works, however Boucher points to elaborately carved altar railings in Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice, designed by Pietro and constructed between 1481 and 1489 as the most obvious influence on the design of the balcony panels which he attributes to the workshop of Pietro.
Carved balconies have survived most frequently in churches in Venice, like the galleries of St Mark's, one splendid secular example which still exists in situ can be seen from the Grand Canal on the facade of the Palazzo Contarinin-Fasan, also datable to the last quater of the fifteenth century.
Pietro Lombardo born Carona (about 1435; died Venice, June 1515) was a leading sculptor and architect of Venice in the late 15th century, known for his significant contribution to the Renaissance in that city. He was the father of Tullio and Antonio, both respected sculptors of the time. Pietro supervised the building of the Cappella Maggiore and its cupola for Treviso Cathedral, begun by 1485 or 1486. When the dome collapsed in 1486, Pietro promised to entrust its rebuilding to a capable architect, who in an agreement of 1488 was identified as his son Tullio. Pietro’s other architectural commissions were for major Venetian buildings: S Maria dei Miracoli and the Scuola Grande di S Marco. In his last years Pietro seems to have been active mainly in conjunction with his sons on commissions in which they were the principals. He helped to supervise the construction of the chapel of the Holy Sacrament, designed by Antonio, in Treviso Cathedral, and that by Tullio at S Salvatore in Venice; he played a more limited role in Antonio’s work on the Zen Chapel in S Marco. In 1514 Pietro served as the head of the stonemasons’ guild in Venice, an indication of the pre-eminent position he held in Venetian architecture even in his last years.