First British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship to be conducted at Roehampton

Dr Stefan Visnjevac has won a highly competitive three-year British Academy Postdoctoral fellowship to work on a fifteenth-century preacher, Leonardo Mattei and his world. 

Posted: 20 May 2013

image for news story First British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship to be conducted at Roehampton
Dr Stefan Visnjevac

In a first for the University, it is hoped the new area of focus will turn historians' attention away from the saintly stars of fifteenth-century preaching – such as San Bernardino and his followers in the heavily researched region of Tuscany - towards the more everyday experience of preaching in one of the most understudied regions of Italy, Friuli (located in upper North East Italy). 


Dr Visnjevac’s new project was selected from 750 applicants and will focus on Educating and Entertaining in Fifteenth-Century Friuli: The Life and Preaching of Leonardo Mattei (1399-1469). The research will be conducted at the University of Roehampton, working closely with Professor Trevor Dean.  


On his British Academy postdoctoral project, Dr Visnjevac comments:
“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.”

“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.”

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.

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