Gianni Caffiero was born in Milan in 1953, where he studied art and painting conservation. He is an internationally renowned consultant specialising in the works of Aivazovsky, on which he advises auction houses and galleries around the world. Ivan Samarine was born in Vienna in 1964, and educated in England. He worked for eight years as an expert in Russian art at Sotheby's where he had daily exposure to works by Aivazovsky. He now runs the Russian Art consultancy based in London.