Born on 30 October 1712 in Weimar, he studied with his father and in Dresden c. 1724-7 with Alexander Thiele, a landscape painter. Appointed Court Painter to the Elector Frederick Augustus II of Saxony (King Augustus III of Poland) in 1741. He visited Rome and Venice in 1743 but spent most of his life in Dresden, where he became a Professor at the Academy in 1764, and where he died on 24 April 1774.
A diverse and eclectic artist, he painted pastiches of, for example, Watteau, Salvator Rosa, Adriaen Ostade and Rembrandt; he also decorated Meissen porcelain and practised as an etcher. There is a large collection of his work in Dresden.