René of Anjou (Occitan: Rainièr d'Anjau; French: René d'Anjou; 1409–1480), also known as René I of Naples (Italian: Renato I di Napoli) and Good King René (Occitan: Rai Rainièr lo Bòn; French: Le bon roi René), was count of Piedmont, Duke of Bar (1430–80), Duke of Lorraine (1431–53), Duke of Anjou, Count of Provence (1434–80), briefly King of Naples (1435–42; titular 1442–80), titular King of Jerusalem (1438–80) and Aragon including Sicily, Majorca and Corsica (1466–70).
He was a member of the House of Valois-Anjou, a cadet branch of the French royal house, and the great-grandson of John II of France (d. 1364). He was a prince of the blood, and for most of his adult life also the brother-in-law of the reigning king Charles VII of France. His lands were very extensive, but often contested, as was his claim to be King of Naples.
1474 portrait by Nicolas Froment
|King of Naples|
|Reign||2 February 1435 – 2 June 1442|
|Duke of Anjou|
Count of Provence
|Reign||12 November 1434 – 10 July 1480|
|Born||René of Anjou|
16 January 1409
Château d'Angers, Angers, Anjou, France
|Died||10 July 1480 (aged 71)|
Aix-en-Provence, Provence, France
Angers Cathedral, Angers
Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine
Jeanne de Laval
|John II, Duke of Lorraine|
Louis of Anjou
Yolande, Duchess of Lorraine
Margaret, Queen of England
|Father||Louis II of Naples|
|Mother||Yolande of Aragon|
René was born on January 16, 1409 in the castle of Angers. He was the second son of Duke Louis II of Anjou, King of Sicily (comprising Naples and other parts of southern Italy), by Yolanda of Aragon. René was the brother of Marie of Anjou, who married the future Charles VII and became Queen of France.
Louis II died in 1417 and his sons, together with their brother-in-law Charles, were brought up under the guardianship of their mother. The elder son, Louis III, succeeded to the crown of Sicily and the Duchy of Anjou, René being known as the Count of Guise. In 1419, by his marriage treaty with Isabella, elder daughter of Charles II, Duke of Lorraine, René became heir to the Duchy of Bar, which was claimed as the inheritance of his mother Yolande, and, by right of his wife, heir to the Duchy of Lorraine.
René, then only ten, was to be brought up in Lorraine under the guardianship of Charles II and Louis, cardinal of Bar, both of whom were attached to the Burgundian party, but he retained the right to bear the arms of Anjou. He was far from sympathizing with the Burgundians. Joining the French army at Reims in 1429, he was present at the consecration of Charles VII. When Louis of Bar died in 1430, René came into sole possession of his duchy. The next year, on his father-in-law's death, he succeeded to the duchy of Lorraine. The inheritance was contested by the heir-male, Antoine de Vaudemont, who with Burgundian help defeated René at Bulgneville in July 1431. The Duchess Isabella effected a truce with Antoine, but the duke remained a prisoner of the Burgundians until April 1432, when he recovered his liberty on parole on yielding up as hostages his two sons, John and Louis.
René's title as duke of Lorraine was confirmed by his suzerain, Emperor Sigismund, at Basel in 1434. This proceeding roused the anger of the Burgundian duke, Philip the Good, who required him early in the next year to return to his prison, from which he was released two years later on payment of a heavy ransom. At the death of his brother Louis III in 1435, he succeeded to the Duchy of Anjou and County of Maine. Joanna II, queen of Naples, had adopted Louis III in 1431 and now offered to permit René to inherit her kingdom in his place. The marriage of Marie of Bourbon, niece of Philip of Burgundy, with John, Duke of Cambria, René's eldest son, cemented peace between the two princes. After appointing a regency in Bar and Lorraine, he visited his provinces of Anjou and Provence, and in 1438 set sail for Naples, which had been held for him by his wife, the Duchess Isabel.
René's captivity, and the poverty of the Angevin resources due to his ransom, enabled Alfonso V of Aragon, who had been first adopted and then repudiated by Joanna II, to make some headway in the kingdom of Naples, especially as he was already in possession of the island of Sicily. In 1441 Alfonso laid siege to Naples, which he sacked after a six-month siege. René returned to France in the same year, and though he retained the title of king of Naples his effective rule was never recovered. Later efforts to recover his rights in Italy failed. His mother Yolande, who had governed Anjou in his absence, died in 1442.
René now made over the government of Lorraine to his son John, who was, however, only formally installed as Duke of Lorraine on the death of Queen Isabella in 1453. René had the confidence of Charles VII, and is said to have initiated the reduction of the men-at-arms set on foot by the king, with whose military operations against the English he was closely associated. He entered Rouen with him in November 1449, and was also with him at Formigny and Caen.
After his second marriage with Jeanne de Laval, daughter of Guy of Laval and Isabella of Brittany, René took a less active part in public affairs, devoting himself to composing poetry and painting miniatures, gardening and raising animals. The fortunes of his house declined in his old age: in 1466, the rebellious Catalans offered the crown of Aragon to René. His son John, unsuccessful in Italy, was sent to take up the conquest of that kingdom but died—apparently by poison—at Barcelona on 16 December 1470. John's eldest son Nicholas perished in 1473, also under suspicion of poisoning. In 1471, René's daughter Margaret was finally defeated in the Wars of the Roses. Her husband and her son were killed and she herself became a prisoner who had to be ransomed by Louis XI in 1476.
René II, Duke of Lorraine, Rene's grandson and only surviving male descendant, was gained over to the party of Louis XI, who suspected the king of Sicily of complicity with his enemies, the Duke of Brittany and the Constable Saint-Pol.
René retired to Provence and in 1474 made a will by which he left Bar to his grandson René II, Duke of Lorraine; Anjou and Provence to his nephew Charles, count of Le Maine. King Louis XI seized Anjou and Bar, and two years later sought to compel René to exchange the two duchies for a pension. The offer was rejected, but further negotiations assured the lapse to the crown of the duchy of Anjou and the annexation of Provence was only postponed until the death of the Count of Le Maine. René died on 10 July 1480 at Aix. He was buried in the cathedral of Angers. In the 19th century, historians bestowed on him the epithet "the good".
The King of Sicily's fame as an amateur painter[a] formerly led to the optimistic attribution to him of many paintings in Anjou and Provence, in many cases simply because they bore his arms. These works are generally in the Early Netherlandish style, and were probably executed under his patronage and direction, so that he may be said to have formed a school of the fine arts in sculpture, painting, goldsmith's work and tapestry. He employed Barthélemy d'Eyck as both painter and varlet de chambre for most of his career.
Two of the most famous works formerly attributed to René are the triptych of the Burning Bush of Nicolas Froment of Avignon in Aix Cathedral, showing portraits of René and his second wife, Jeanne de Laval, and an illuminated Book of Hours in the French National Library. Among the men of letters attached to his court was Antoine de la Sale, whom he made tutor to his son John. He encouraged the performance of mystery plays; on the performance of a mystery of the Passion at Saumur in 1462 he remitted four years of taxes to the town, and the representations of the Passion at Angers were carried out under his auspices.
He exchanged verses with his kinsman, the poet Charles of Orléans. René was also the author of two allegorical works: a devotional dialogue, Le Mortifiement de vaine plaisance (The Mortification of Vain Pleasure, 1455), and a love quest, Le Livre du Cuer d'amours espris (The Book of the Love-Smitten Heart, 1457). The latter fuses the conventions of Arthurian romance with an allegory of love based on the Romance of the Rose. Both works were exquisitely illustrated by his court painter, Barthélémy d'Eyck. Le Mortifiement survives in eight illuminated manuscripts. Although Barthélémy's original is lost, the extant manuscripts include copies of his miniatures by Jean le Tavernier, Jean Colombe, and others. René is sometimes credited with the pastoral poem "Regnault and Jeanneton",[b] but this was more likely a gift to the king honoring his marriage to Jeanne de Laval.
King René's Tournament Book (Le Livre des tournois or Traicte de la Forme de Devis d'un Tournoi; c. 1460) describes rules of a tournament. The most famous and earliest of the many manuscript copies is kept in the French National Library. This is—unusually for a deluxe manuscript—on paper and painted in watercolor. It may represent drawings by Barthélemy d'Eyck, intended as preparatory only, which were later illuminated by him or another artist. There are twenty-six full and double page miniatures. The description given in the book is different from that of the pas d'armes held at Razilly and Saumur; conspicuously absent are the allegorical and chivalresque ornamentations that were in vogue at the time. René instead emphasizes he is reporting on ancient tournament customs of France, Germany and the Low Countries, combining them in a new suggestion on how to hold a tournament. The tournament described is a melee fought by two sides. Individual jousts are only briefly mentioned.
His legitimate children by Isabelle were:
He also had three illegitimate children:
He appears as "Reignier" in William Shakespeare's play Henry VI, part 1. His alleged poverty for a king is satirised. He pretends to be the Dauphin to deceive Joan of Arc, but she sees through him. She later claims to be pregnant with his child.
René's honeymoon, devoted with his bride to the arts, is imagined in Walter Scott's novel Anne of Geierstein (1829). The imaginary scene of his honeymoon was later depicted by the Pre-Raphaelite painters Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
René and his Order of the Crescent were adopted as "historical founders" by the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity in 1912, as exemplars of Christian chivalry and charity. Ceremonies of the Order of the Crescent were referenced in formulating ceremonies for the fraternity.
Chant du Roi René (Song of King René) is a piece for organ (or harmonium) by Alexandre Guilmant (1837–1911) from his collection of Noels (Op.60). The theme used throughout this piece was alleged to have been written by René (Guilmant's source was Alphonse Pellet, organist at Nîmes Cathedral).
René frequently changed his coat of arms, which represented his numerous and fluctuating claims to titles, both actual and nominal. The Coat of arms of René in 1420; Composing the arms of the House of Valois-Anjou (top left and bottom right), Duchy of Bar (top right and bottom left), and of the Duchy of Lorraine (superimposed shield). In 1434 were added Hungary, Kingdom of Naples and Jerusalem. The arms of the Crown of Aragon were shown from 1443 to 1470. In 1453 the arms of Lorraine were removed and in 1470 Valois-Anjou were substituted for the modern arms of the duchy (superimposed shield).
René of AnjouBorn: 19 January 1409 Died: 10 July 1480
| Duke of Bar
with Louis I (1420s – 1430)
| Duke of Lorraine
| Duke of Anjou
Count of Provence
| King of Naples
Events from the year 1435 in FranceBarthélemy d'Eyck
Barthélemy d'Eyck, van Eyck or d' Eyck (c. 1420 – after 1470), was an Early Netherlandish artist who worked in France and probably in Burgundy as a painter and manuscript illuminator. He was active between about 1440 to about 1469.
Although no surviving works can be certainly documented as his, he was praised by contemporary authors as a leading artist of the day, and a number of important works are generally accepted as his. In particular, Barthélemy has been accepted by most experts as the artists formerly known as the Master of the Aix Annunciation for paintings, and the Master of René of Anjou for illuminated manuscripts. He is thought by many to be the Master of the Shadows responsible for parts of the calendar of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.Charles, Count of Maine
Charles du Maine (1414–1472) was a French prince of blood and an advisor to Charles VII of France, his brother-in-law, during the Hundred Years' War. He was the third son of Louis II, Duke of Anjou and King of Naples, and Yolande of Aragon.In 1434, he married Cobella Ruffo (d. 1442), Countess of Montalto and Corigliano. They had one son, named Jean Louis Marin, who died as an infant.
In 1437, he took up arms on behalf of King Charles VII of France, participating in the capture of Montereau, and that of Pontoise, in 1441. At this time, his brother, René of Anjou, ceded to him the County of Maine. He continued to take part in King Charles' campaigns.
By his second marriage, in 1443, to Isabelle of Luxembourg (d. 1472), daughter of Peter I of Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol, he had two children:
Louise of Anjou (1445–1477, Carlat), married in 1462 at Poitiers, Jacques d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours (d. 1477).
Charles IV, Duke of Anjou (1446–1481)A dispute over the county of Guise between Charles and Isabelle's brother, Louis of Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol, was settled by settling it upon Isabelle as a dowry.
Charles also had an illegitimate daughter, Mary of Anjou, who married Thomas Courtenay, 6th Earl of Devon.He led the rearguard for King Louis XI of France at the Battle of Montlhéry.Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable (French: l'Affable; 30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498), was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498, the seventh from the House of Valois. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13. His elder sister Anne acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War (1485–1488), which resulted in a victory for the royal government.
In a remarkable stroke of audacity, Charles married Anne of Brittany in 1491 after she had already been married by proxy to the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in a ceremony of questionable validity. Preoccupied by the problematic succession in the Kingdom of Hungary, Maximilian failed to press his claim. Upon his marriage, Charles became administrator of Brittany and established a personal union that enabled France to avoid total encirclement by Habsburg territories.
To secure his rights to the Neapolitan throne that René of Anjou had left to his father, Charles made a series of concessions to neighbouring monarchs and conquered the Italian peninsula without much opposition. A coalition formed against the French invasion of 1494-98 finally drove out Charles' army, but Italian Wars would dominate Western European politics for over 50 years.
Charles died in 1498 after accidentally striking his head on the lintel of a door at the Château d'Amboise, his place of birth. Since he had no male heir, he was succeeded by his cousin Louis XII of France from the Orléans cadet branch of the House of Valois.Château of Vauvenargues
The Château of Vauvenargues (French: Château de Vauvenargues) is a fortified bastide in the village of Vauvenargues, situated to the north of Montagne Sainte-Victoire, just outside the town of Aix-en-Provence in the south of France.
Built on a site occupied since Roman times, it became a seat of the Counts of Provence in the Middle Ages, passing to the Archbishops of Aix in the thirteenth century. It acquired its present architectural form in the seventeenth century as the family home of the marquis de Vauvenargues. After the French revolution it was sold to the Isoard family, who despite their humble origins eventually installed their coat of arms in the chateau. Nineteenth century additions include a ceramic maiolica profile in the Italian renaissance style of René of Anjou, one of the former owners, and a small shrine containing the relics of St Severin.
In 1929 the chateau was officially listed as a historic monument. In 1943 it was sold by the Isoard family to three industrialists from Marseille, who stripped it of its furnishings and mural decoration, some of which still survives in the Château of La Barben. In 1947 it became a vacation centre for a maritime welfare institution.
It was acquired in September 1958 by the exiled Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, seeking a more isolated working place than his previous home, "La Californie" in Cannes. He occupied and remodeled the chateau from 1959 until 1962, after which he moved to Mougins. He and his wife Jacqueline are buried in the grounds of the chateau of Vauvenargues, which is still the private property of the Picasso family. Their tomb is a grassy mound surmounted by La Dame à l'offrande (1933) (English: Woman with a Vase), a monumental sculpture that previously guarded the entrance of the Spanish pavilion at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937.Guillaume Robin
Guillaume Robin, was a 15th-century architect and general contractor from Anjou.
Robin owes his fame to King René of Anjou who used his know-how for the realization of several monuments in Anjou.
As early as 1435, René d'Anjou asked his project manager, Robin, to double the size of his royal dwelling of the Château d'Angers with a gallery whose staircase bears his motto on the vault. He also had him build the châtelet around 1450.In 1453, Robin redid the paving of the transept north of the Saint-Maurice Catheral of Angers. He also built in the cathedral the right handstaircase to provide access to the library in the south transept. He worked on the construction of the cathedral of Angers at the same time as the master glassmaker André Robin who placed the stained glass windows in the cathedral.
In 1454, at the end of the Hundred Years' War, René of Anjou inherited the ruins of his mother's castle in the town of Le Vieil-Baugé, still glowing with the French victory at the Battle of Baugé. He built a hunting lodge the size of a manor house, which became the Château de Baugé. The work was completed in 1465.Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine
Isabella (1400 – 28 February 1453) was suo jure Duchess of Lorraine, from 25 January 1431 to her death in 1453. She was also Queen of Naples by marriage to René of Anjou. Isabella ruled the Kingdom of Naples and her husband's domains in France as regent during his imprisonment in Burgundy in 1435-1438.Jacques Morel (artist)
Jacques Morel (1395–1459) was a French sculptor.
Morel was a widely traveled and prolific artist, and head of the Morel family of artists. His nephew was Antoine Le Moiturier. He was named Master of the Works of Lyon Cathedral in 1418 and was contracted to execute an elaborate tomb for a cardinal there in 1420 (destroyed 1562).After leaving Lyon in 1424 or 1425, Morel worked in the Rhone valley and elsewhere in southern and central France. He is cited as an inhabitant of Toulouse in a commission for a silver altarpiece for Avignon Cathedral (1429; apparently never completed), as active in Béziers (1433; work for Saint Aphrodise, and as collaborator of Simon de Beaujeu in Tarascon (c. 1433). This was followed by periods of residence in Avignon (1441-5), Montpellier (1445-8) and Rodez, where in 1448 he received a contract for the construction and sculptural decoration of the south portal of the cathedral (work left incomplete in 1456).
In 1448 he was commissioned to carve the alabaster tomb of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon (d 1456), and his wife Agnes of Burgundy, Duchess of Bourbon, for the Chapelle Neuve of St. Pierre, Souvigny. Completed in 1453, this is his only documented work to survive.
Morel spent his last years from 1453 in Angers, where he completed the tomb of King René of Anjou (d 1480) and his first wife Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine (d 1453), in Angers Cathedral (begun 1450 by Jean Pocet (d 1452) and his son; destroyed).John II, Duke of Lorraine
John II of Anjou (Nancy, August 2, 1426 – December 16, 1470, Barcelona) was Duke of Lorraine from 1453 to his death. He was the son of René of Anjou and Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine.King René's Daughter
Kong Renés Datter (King René’s Daughter) is a Danish verse drama written in 1845 by Henrik Hertz. It is a fictional account of the early life of Yolande of Lorraine, daughter of René of Anjou, in which she is depicted as a beautiful blind sixteen-year-old princess who lives in a protected garden paradise. The play was highly popular in the 19th century. It was translated into many languages, copied, parodied and adapted. The Russian adaptation by Vladimir Zotov was used as the basis for the 1892 opera Iolanta, written by Tchaikovsky, with libretto by his brother Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky.The name of the central character is given as "Iolanthe" in the original and in early English versions.Louis I, Duke of Bar
Louis I of Bar (between 1370 and 1375 – 26 June 1430) was a French bishop of the 15th century and the de jure Duke of Bar from 1415 to 1430, ruling from the 1420s alongside his grand-nephew René of Anjou.Louis III of Naples
Louis III (25 September 1403 – 12 November 1434) was titular King of Naples from 1417 to 1426, Count of Provence, Forcalquier, Piedmont, and Maine and Duke of Anjou from 1417 to 1434, and Duke of Calabria from 1426 to 1434.Louis II of Naples
Louis II (5 October 1377 – 29 April 1417) was King of Naples from 1389 until 1399, and Duke of Anjou from 1384 until 1417. He was a member of the House of Valois-Anjou.Louis of Anjou, Marquis of Pont-à-Mousson
Louis of Anjou (16 October 1427 – d. 22 May - 16 October 1444) was marquis of Pont-à-Mousson from 1441 to 1443. He was preceded and succeeded in the title by his father. He was the third son of René of Anjou and his first wife Isabella. He and his brother Jean were given as hostages to the Burgundians in April 1432 in return for freeing their father René, who had been captured by the Burgundians. John was released, but Louis was not and he died of pneumonia in prison at the age of sixteen. He was interred at the Church of St. Anthony in Pont-a-Mousson.Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden
Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (c. 1460 – 14 May 1523) was a soldier and courtier in England and an early member of the House of Commons. He was the son of Lancastrian loyalists, Sir William Vaux of Harrowden and Katherine Penyson (or Peniston as she is sometimes called in later sources), a lady of the household of Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of the Lancastrian king, Henry VI of England. Katherine was daughter of Gregorio Panizzone of Courticelle (modern Cortiglione), in Piedmont, Italy which was at that time subject to King René of Anjou, father of Queen Margaret of Anjou, as ruler of Provence. He grew up during the years of Yorkist rule, and later served under the founder of the Tudor dynasty, Henry VII.Pas de la Bergère
The Pas de la Bergère ("pas of the shepherdess") was a pas d'armes organized in 1449 by René of Anjou in Tarascon, in southern France.The event started on May 1, 1449 and lasted for three days. Noblemen dressed as shepherds had to defend in turns a noblewoman dressed as a shepherdess. The winner received a kiss and flowers from this woman.Treaty of Tours
The Treaty of Tours was an attempted peace agreement between Henry VI of England and Charles VII of France, concluded by their envoys on 28 May 1444 in the closing years of the Hundred Years' War. The terms stipulated the marriage of Charles VII's young niece, Margaret of Anjou, to Henry VI, and the establishment of a several years' truce (later extended) between the kingdoms of England and France. In exchange for the marriage, Charles wanted the English-held area of Maine in northern France, just south of Normandy.
Henry VI married Margaret a year later, on 23 April 1445, when he was 23 years old and she was 15. He did not, however, give up Maine immediately. This clause was initially kept secret, the cession of this strategically important province being likely to cause a public backlash in England. Charles threatened Henry VI and sent envoys to pressure him; even Margaret tried to persuade Henry to give it up. Henry eventually yielded in 1448 when Charles VII threatened English garrisons with a large army.
The treaty was seen as a major failure for England as the bride secured for Henry VI was a poor match, being Charles VII's niece only through marriage, and was otherwise related to him by blood only distantly. Her marriage also came without a dowry, as Margaret was the daughter of the impoverished René of Anjou; Henry was also expected to pay for the wedding. All English sacrifices to obtain a truce in any event collapsed by a disastrous renewal of hostilities in France in 1449. due to conflicts between England and its former ally Brittany, which Charles VII used as a pretext to resume hostilities.
The agreement became a controversial topic in England. The Treaty of Tours exacerbated rifts between the court's Beaufort faction and the dukes of Gloucester and York, and has been considered a potentially contributory factor to the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses.Yolande, Duchess of Lorraine
Yolande (2 November 1428, Nancy – 23 March 1483, Nancy), was Duchess of Lorraine (1473) and Bar (1480). She was the daughter of Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine, and René of Anjou (King of Naples, Duke of Anjou, Bar and Lorraine, Count of Provence). Though she was nominally in control of major territories, she ceded her power and titles to her husband and her son. In addition, her younger sister was Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England.
In the 19th century, a romanticised version of her early life was popularised by the play King René’s Daughter by Henrik Hertz, in which she is portrayed as a beautiful blind princess living in an isolated garden paradise. It was later adapted to Tchaikovsky's opera Iolanta. There is no evidence that she was ever blind.
|Ancestors of René of Anjou|
|Appanage of Anjou|