The son of a poor contractor, a serf man Prince. M.S. Vorontsov. Received the first artistic skills in the workshop A.E. Yegorova.
He studied at the Academy of Arts from 1832 to 1839. Since 1836, the great K.P. Bryullov. Received in 1838 two 2 silver medals; in 1839 - the title of a free artist; in 1841 - 1 silver medal; in 1842 - 2 gold medal for the painting "Death of Alkiviades"; in 1845 - 1 gold medal for the painting "Siloam font"; In the same year - the title of the artist of the XIV class. In turbulent times in Europe (1847–1849), the artist was on a retirement trip in Italy. Upon returning from it, attempts to create something historic-grand in the style of their teacher end in failure. Yet J. Kapkov finds his path in painting. He is becoming a popular performer of female heads, figures of a slightly exotic nature. They are so eagerly bought up that even the imperial family makes him orders for his collection.