Born on the 29 of July 1817 in a Armenian family. He studied at the Fine Arts Academy of St Petersburg, and graduated with honors.
He painted a set of portraits of the Crimean harbours, before travelling accross Europe. Invited by the Sultan Abdülmecid, he traveled to Istanbul in 1845, and named official painter he returned there 8 times till 1890. Member of the St Petersburg Academy in 1884, he is considered as the most prolific Russo-Armenian painter of his time, leaving no less than 6,000 paintings at his death in Europe. Recognized for his marine subject and coastal scènes, he was admired for his representations of light in his paintings, sometimes recalling Turner’s work.
He spent his last year in his hometown, Feodosiya, where he created an art school, a gallery. He died there the 5th of may 1900, not before organizing the first archeological excavations.