Johann Melchior Wyrsch was a Swiss painter of the 18th century.
Johann Melchior Wyrsch was born on August 21, 1732, in Buochs, Unterwalden. He was the son of Balthazar Francis Xavier, Councillor, bailiff and Diet envoy, and Anna Klara Achermann. Wyrsch began his art studies 1745 as a portrait painter with Johann Michael Suter in Lucerne and Franz Anton Kraus in Einsiedeln as teachers.
Between 1753 and 1754 he spent a study tour in Italy, where he mainly resided in Rome and Naples. After his art studies in Italy, he returned to Switzerland and began his artistic activity as a portrait and church painter. In 1768 he moved to Besançon, where he painted many portraits of respected people.
Together with the sculptor Luc Breton, whom he had met in Rome, he founded in 1773 the academy for painting and drawing École régionale des beaux-arts de Besançon [fr] ( Académie de Peinture et de dessin ) in Besançon.
In 1877 he traveled to Paris, and returned to Besançon, where he was appointed in 1784 an honorary citizen. In the same year he moved to Lucerne, where he proposed to the Council of Lucerne in 1783 to found a School of Drawing with the task to teach talented young students in drawing and modeling.
With an increasing blindness ascribed to cataracts, he withdrew to Buochs, where at the Conquest Nidwalden he was murdered by the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte.