Born in the family of an official, a descendant of an old noble family. He received his artistic education in Munich, and then on behalf of the count Adolf Friedrich von Shaka in 1864 went to Rome, where he is engaged in copying famous paintings for the gallery of Shaq. Often the material needed, but familiarity in 1866 with the writer and art theorist Conrad Fiedler, who became the patron of the artist, allowed background Mare to rectify its financial position and to travel through France, Holland and Spain. In 1873−74 he gets his Mare the only official order and creates murals for the newly built Zoological station of Naples.
Mare studied at Charles Steffey in Berlin (1853 — 1855); the influence of the teacher is evident in his early works with images of soldiers. In 1857−1864 he works in Munich and writes war scenes ("Soldiers at rest", 1862, Wuppertal, Museum von der Heydt) and portraits inspired by Rembrandt. In 1863 he created his first truly independent work — the painting "Diana bathing" (Munich, New Pinakothek), decorative depicting a group of Nudes in a landscape. In 1864−1870 its stylistic evolution continues in Italy, where the Mare is influenced by the painting of the Cinquecento, and met with Feuerbach. Thanks to financial support of the philosopher Konrad Fiedler, Mare is able to carry out their artistic ideas. In 1869, he embarks on a journey to Spain, France, Belgium and Holland, and in 1870−1873 works in Berlin and Dresden. In 1873, in Naples, he, along with Hildebrand ("self-Portrait with Hilderbrandt", 1873, Wuppertal, Museum von der Heydt) writes frescoes in the library of the German Zoological Institute, depicting the life of peasants and fishermen. On one of the frescoes depicts the artist with friends in the background of the Italian landscape. In 1874−1875 Mare lives in Florence, then in Naples and finally in Rome, where he remained until his death. From 1874 he writes, mostly, groups of Nude in a landscape is a link between the figures; his characters are the images of some higher humanity. Art Mare
captivates a passionate search for external purity. From 1879 he creates great triptych, now kept in the Munich New pincoteca ("Esperidi", 1879, 1884−1887; "Three Holy warrior of St. Martin, St. Hubert and St. George", 1885−1887; "Die Werbung", 1885−1887). By 1874, his best graphic works; most of the drawings of the artist’s preparatory sketches to paintings, and they are the most beautiful examples of this style in German painting of the XIX century. Best student of the artist was the sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand. Genuine recognition and popularity came to the artist after his death. In 1908 in Munich and Berlin held large exhibitions of his work, presented now in Munich (Neue Pinakothek), Berlin (NAT. Gal.), Dresden (castle Pillnitz), as well as in Hamburg, Mannheim and Wuppertal.