Kleoniki Gennadi (1856-1859). Ludwig Thiersch (German, 1825-1909). Oil on canvas. National Gallery, Athens.

Thiersch attended the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich to study sculpture, but after a few years turned to painting, in which he became a student of Heinrich Maria von Hess, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, and Karl Schorn. After the Academy, he painted a depiction of Sakuntala (1848) and a scene of Camisards, and then traveled to Rome, where he sketched scenes from daily Italian life.

Elegant Couple Sketching and Reading by a Lake (1874). Ludwig Thiersch (German, 1825-1909). Oil on canvas.

In 1852, Thiersch traveled with his father to Athens, where he replaced Rafaello Ceccoli at the Athens School of Fine Arts and became interested in Byzantine art. He painted several frescoes in Greek churches, and was at the forefront of a movement to “modernize” Byzantine art by introducing elements from Western art such as naturalistic perspective and anatomy.