Agostino was the brother of Annibale Carracci and cousin of Ludovico Carracci. Collectively known as the Carracci, they perpetuated the dominant artistic style in 17th-century painting and printmaking in which nature and the human form were shown perfected and idealized. This style was contemporary with the more realistic and unidealizing style of Caravaggio and often the two schools are compared to one another to show the competing modes of expression that characterize the European Baroque. The three men started an Academy of painting in their hometown of Bologna to instruct emerging artists in this classicizing style. Amongst the followers of the Carracci were Guido Reni, Giovanni Lanfranco and Domenichino. Agostino assisted his brother Annibale in his most impressive work, the illusionistic ceiling at the Palazzo Farnese, which was completed around the turn of the 17th century. Agostino is credited with several of the panels on this ceiling as well as several figures in other scenes painted by his brother. Agostino worked also as a printmaker, making both reproductive and original engravings and etchings.