Rainer Vollkommer studied from 1978 Classical Archeology, Prehistory and Early History, Art History, Egyptology and Near Eastern Archeology at the University of Munich. He then completed a master’s degree in Paris and a graduate studies in Oxford, where he received his doctorate in 1988 with John Boardman. From 1984 to 1994 Vollkommer worked as a research associate at the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC) in Basel. In addition, he taught as a lecturer at the universities of Friborg (Switzerland) and Freiburg im Breisgau. Between 1994 and 1998 Vollkommer was senior assistant at the Archaeological Institute of the University of Leipzig, where he was involved in the construction of the Antikenmuseum. From 1998 to 2000 he took a substitute professorship at the University of Freiburg.
From 2000 Vollkommer worked as an art dealer in the specialized in the art of antiquity Jean-David Cahn AG in Basel. From 2002 to 2011 he was head of department of the Saxon State Office for Archeology, head of the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Dresden. In December 2009 he was appointed honorary professor at the Dresden University of Technology. Vollkommer has been the director of the Liechtenstein National Museum in Vaduz since April 2011.