Daniel Graves graduated from the Maryland Art Institute in 1972, where he studied with Joseph Shepard and Frank Russell. He traveled to Florence in the 1970s in search of the techniques of those masters who inspired him most: Rembrandt, Titian, Velázquez, and also the French academic painters. There he found a personal style that fuses the richness of 19th-century Italian painting with academic draftsmanship. He continued his education at the Villa Schifanoia Graduate School of Fine Art with Richard Serrin and studied under Nerina Simi, daughter of the Florentine painter, Filadelfo Simi, a student of Gérôme. In 1984, along with Charles Cecil, he opened Studio Cecil-Graves. Graves went on to found The Florence Academy of Art in 1991 to keep the tradition of great painting and sculpture alive. Today he continues to serve as the academic director of The Florence Academy of Art while maintaining a studio and career as a professional painter.