Moritz Carrière (1817-1895), who came from a Huguenot family and was the son of an adjunct treasurer (Rentmeister) and landowner, studied philosophy in Giessen from 1835, then in Göttingen and Berlin, where he completed his doctorate in 1838. During his studies he already entertained close contacts with numerous authors and publicists, among others with Eduard Gans (1797-1839), Karl August Varnhagen von Ense (1785-1858) and with Bettina von Arnim (1785-1859). In 1842, Carriére received his "habilitation" in Giessen, where he held lectures on logic, philosophy of religion, general art history and aesthetics as a private lecturer and later as Außerordentlicher Professor (Reader). The acquaintance with the chemist Justus von Liebig (1803-1873), whose eldest daughter he married in 1853, led Carrière to decide to go to Munich. There he became professor for art history and secretary at the academy of arts; in 1887 he was appointed as university professor for aesthetics. From 1889, he was a member of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Bavarian Academy of Sciences).
Carrière, a founding member of the inner circle of "Die Krokodile" (The Crocodiles) (with the association's nickname: "Schiff der Wüste"), may be regarded as the theorist of the so-called "Münchner Dichterkreis" in issues related to art. His treatise "Das Wesen und die Formen der Poesie" was published in 1854 and his two-volume "Ästhetik" in 1859. As the founder of the movement of Ideal Realism and representative of speculative Theism, Carrière represented philosophical positions that reconciled Idealism and Materialism and took into account the scientific needs of his time. According to Carrière, man understood the world "weil Verstand in ihr ist" (since there is reason in it) - the same logical laws of identity, diversity, and reason applied in art as in the world. Conversely, the work of art as a microcosm represents the universe and reveals the "Sinn des Weltganzen" (meaning of the world as a whole). History as well falls "unter den Begriff der Schönheit" (under the concept of beauty). Carrière's philosophy of art excluded everything that ran counter to the affirmative beauty, and he thus stood in contrast to Karl Rosenkranz's (1805-1879) contemporaneous "Ästhetik des Häßlichen" (1853).
Among his other works are "Vom Geist. Schwert- und Handschlag für Franz Baader" (1841), "Die Kunst im Zusammenhang der Kulturentwicklung und die Ideale der Menschheit" (5 vols, 1863/74), "Die sittliche Weltordnung" (1877) as well as "Lebenserinnerungen" (up to 1847; published posthumously in 1914).