Son of the Hellenist Friedrich Thiersch, he studied sculpture and later painting at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. In 1849 he left for Rome where he remained until 1852, studying the work of Raphael. Then he returned to Athens and taught painting at the School of Arts until 1855. From 1853 to 1855 he did paintings for the Russian Church in Athens. A year later, 1856, he left for Munich and the following years he travelled to many cities such as Vienna, St. Petersburg, Karslruhe, London and Paris. In the three latter cities he got involved with the iconography of Greek churches. Of his exhibition activity it is known he participated in the International Exhibition of Paris in 1855 and that there was an exhibition of his drawings at the Zappeion Hall in 1891, as well as a presentation of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons that belonged to his collection.

Using Renaissance models, he was principally interested in religious painting, but also did portraits.