He documented the tomb of Rameses V/VI (KV 9). Born in St. Petersburg in 1897, Piankoff became interested in Egyptology as a boy after seeing a museum collection from ancient Egypt. His academic work in classics, Egyptian philology, and languages was interrupted by World War I, but after the war he studied in Berlin, at the Sorbonne, and at the University of Paris. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Paris in 1930.
After World War II, Piankoff traveled to Cairo where he worked for the French Institute, the Bollingen Foundation, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, specializing in Egyptian philology and religion. He translated many religious texts. His best-known work was at Thebes. He recorded the tomb of Rameses V and VI (KV 9) and studied the wall reliefs in the tomb of Tutankhamen (KV 62). Piankoff died in Brussels in 1966.