Rene I, surnamed the Good, duke of Anjou, count of Provence, and titular king of Naples, born in Angers, Jan. 16, 1409, died in Aix, July 10, 1480. He was the second son of Louis of Anjou (crowned king of Naples in 1384) and Yolande, daughter of the king of Aragon. Louis was never able to make good his rights, although his eldest son Louis III., having been adopted by the queen Joanna II., gained possession of the throne. He died Nov. 15, 1434, and left Anjou and Provence, together with his claims upon Naples, Sicily, and Jerusalem, to his brother René, whom Joanna II., dying in 1435, also appointed her heir. In 1430 René, as the successor of his maternal great-uncle, had become duke of Bar, and in 1431, on the death of his father-in-law,, Duke Charles of Lorraine, had been confirmed by the estates in the possession of that duchy. But his claims were contested in the same year by the count of Vaudemont, nephew of Charles, by whom he was taken prisoner, and the decision of the question of succession was left by the nobility of Lorraine to the emperor Sigis-mund. René was released for a year, but compelled to give his sons as hostages. The em-peror finally decided in his favor. Vaudemont would not submit, and René was compelled to return to prison.
A few weeks afterward a deputation brought to him the crown of Naples and Sicily. Unable to obtain release, he appointed his wife Isabella regent of Anjou, Provence, Naples, and Sicily. She arrived in Italy on Oct. 18, 1435, but found herself at once in conflict with the party of King Alfonso of Aragon. In 1437 Rene purchased his freedom and the acknowledgment of his right to Lorraine for 400,000 pieces of gold, and led an army to Naples, but was obliged to leave the kingdom to his opponent and return in 1442 to Provence. Having restored order in Lorraine, he gave it over to his eldest son, John, titular duke of Calabria, and devoted himself to letters and the arts. In 1467 the Aragonese offered him the sovereignty of their country, which he declined for himself but accepted for his son, the duke of Calabria, who died soon after entering Aragon. The only companion of René's closing years was his exiled daughter, Queen Margaret of England, wife of Henry VI. King René was prominent as a patron of letters and the arts. Many paintings and pieces of sculpture were formerly attributed to his own hand, but have been shown to have been done only under his auspices.
A considerable number of his writings still remain, the chief of which were edited by the count de Quatrebarbes, Oeuvres du roi René (4 vols. 4to, Paris and Angers, 1845-'6). See also Le Roi René, sa vie et ses travaux, by De Lecoy de la Marche (Paris, 1875).