(b Merseburg, 23 Nov 1706; d ?Berlin, after 1738). German sculptor and porcelain modeller. He was the brother and probably pupil of the Dresden court sculptor Johann Christian Kirchner (1681-1732). On 24 March 1727 he was employed at the Meissen Porcelain Factory as Modellmeister and was responsible for the design of tablewares. His most important achievement was the creation of the large, white animals and birds for the Japanisches Palais in Dresden of Frederick-Augustus I, Elector of Saxony. In this venture he was joined by Johann Joachim Kändler in June 1731. Kirchner's animals were static, anthropomorphic and derived more from printed images than from actual observation of nature. This is exemplified by his rhinoceros (possibly derived from an engraving by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) and his elephant (1731; Dresden, Porzellansamml.), which bear scant resemblance to the actual animals. Kirchner was a difficult employee and colleague and he left Meissen in 1733. He was briefly employed there again in 1738 and appears to have ended his career in Berlin.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.