Born in Timisoara, at that time part of Hungary, Hirschl at an early age went to Vienna to study. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts, under the guidance of August Eisenmenger and Leopold Karl Müller. In 1882 he won a prize which allowed him to travel to Rome. He was back in Vienna in 1884, where enjoyed a successful career, culminating in 1891, when the artist won the Kaiserprise with the painting Wedding Procession in Ancient Rome. In 1898 he moved to Rome, where he spent the last 35 years of his life as an eminent member of the expatriate art community. In 1904, seventy of his works were exhibited at a retrospective. His heirs retained possession of his studio for decades following his death. A large number of his drawings, watercolors, pastels, and oil sketches became public only in the early 1980s.