At various points throughout his life and as documented by his regularly evolving coat of arms, René of Anjou (1409–80) was claimant to the kingdoms of Sicily (Naples), Jerusalem, Hungary, and Aragon, the duchies of Anjou, Lorraine, and Bar, and the county of Provence. Only the latter was uncontested, and his two attempts, in 1453–4 and 1458–65 respectively, to recover the Italian kingdom he had lost ended in failure. Of signal importance to the politics of Charles VII’s reign, he was increasingly marginalised by his nephew Louis XI. René’s reputation has mainly rested on his status as a writer of romance, a self-styled authority on tournaments and chivalry, and a putative painter – all factors that contributed to a widespread dismissal of him as a frivolous figure of a waning Middle Ages. More recently scholars have begun to look seriously at his contributions to the vernacular literature of fifteenth-century France, and at his engagement with the humanist and artistic avant garde of the Italian Renaissance. His political significance has also been reconsidered, revealing his important and enduring role in Franco-Italian politics and diplomacy in the decades before the French invasion of Italy.