Mikhail Turovsky was born in 1933 in Kyiv into the family of Shaul Turovsky, a taylor. During the Second World War, he was evacuated to Samarkand with his mother and an older brother. Although over the draft age, his father volunteered for active duty and was killed in action in 1943.Turovsky attended the art school in Samarkand. His classmates included Ilya Kabakov (later a noted conceptualist artist). Turovsky returned to Kyiv in 1944 and continued his studies at the Shevchenko State Art School. He later graduated from Kyiv Art Institute, where he studied under Tetyana Yablonska in 1960. He continued his postgraduate studies at the Moscow Academy of Art from 1965 until 1968.