Dr Stefan Visnjevac awarded BA Postdoctoral Fellowship

Stefan VDr Stefan Visnjevac has won a three-year British Academy Postdoctoral fellowship to work on a fifteenth-century preacher, Leonardo Mattei and his world. Dr Visnjevac was awarded his PhD by the University of St Andrews in 2012 after completing his doctoral research on the Religion and Public Life in Late Mediaeval Italy AHRC-funded project under the supervision of Prof. Frances Andrews.

Dr Visnjevac’s new project, Educating and Entertaining in Fifteenth-Century Friuli: The Life and Preaching of Leonardo Mattei (1399-1469), will be conducted at the University of Roehampton. Dr Visnjevac will be working closely with Prof. Trevor Dean.

On his British Academy postdoctoral project, Dr Visnjevac writes:

“Recent years have seen an explosion of interdisciplinary interest in medieval sermon studies, especially for early Renaissance Italy, where mendicant preaching peaked in popularity and significance to public life. The enormous variety in content has been explored from the standpoint of equally diverse interests – from social and devotional practices, theological standpoints, politics and economics, to drama and performance, and the development of language. Yet, many remain an untapped resource, particularly for fifteenth-century studies”

“Significant aspects of the culture, mechanics, content, reception, and thought of preaching remain unknown outside of the Observant Franciscan, Tuscan-centric focus which has dominated for the last forty years. My project addresses this long-standing imbalance by bringing to light the prolific, but unexamined, Dominican Conventual Leonardo Mattei da Udine (1399-1469). Held in great regard as a preacher during his own lifetime, but now virtually forgotten, Mattei preached in Florence, Venice, Udine, and in the presence of the pope. His sermons found widespread posthumous popularity throughout late medieval and early modern Italy, France, and Germany. Crucially, Mattei thoroughly involved himself in the religious, social, and political developments of his native Friuli, to which his career was intrinsically linked. Through examination of Mattei’s activity in Friuli, the project thus aims to throw fresh perspective on this least-studied region of late medieval Italy. It will further make available comparative data for sermon studies through close analysis of the structure and content of his sermons, and provide a much-needed new set of edited sermons.”