Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the Italian border to the east; it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It largely corresponds with the modern administrative region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and includes the departments of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, as well as parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse. The largest city of the region is Marseille.
The Romans made the region the first Roman province beyond the Alps and called it Provincia Romana, which evolved into the present name. Until 1481 it was ruled by the Counts of Provence from their capital in Aix-en-Provence, then became a province of the Kings of France. While it has been part of France for more than five hundred years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity, particularly in the interior of the region.
Artists have been painting in Provence since prehistoric times; paintings of bisons, seals, auks and horses dating to between 27,000 and 19,000 BC were found in the Cosquer Cave near Marseille.