Born in Bologna, Albani was an artist during Italy’s Baroque period who was involved in the Bolognese School of painting. He trained under the Flemish painter Dennis Calvaert (1540 – 1619), known as Il Fiammingo (the Fleming) to the Italians. In Fiammingo’s studio in Bologna, Albani become well acquainted with another artist Guido Reni (1575 – 1642) and they joined the Carracci painters, a family in Bologna who founded the Eclectic Academy, called Accademia Degli Incamminati. Several years later, Albani engaged in a friendly rivalry with Reni.
Developing his own style within the Bolognese School, Albani eventually traveled to Rome in 1600 for a commission obtained by Annibale Carracci (1560 – 1609) at the Palazzo Farnese. Annibale considered Albani to be one of his most promising assistants. While in Rome, Albani also executed frescos for the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church (Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore) and in the Palazzo Mattei di Giove. His work in these churches contributed to the prevalent Bolognese style seen in Rome at the time.
Albani was then brought to northern Italy on a private commission from a prominent patron of the time, Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani (1564 – 1637). Here he completed a large fresco titled, Fall of Phaeton and Council of the Gods. As part of a number of Mythological paintings that Albani created, they are considered his superior works. This includes his piece now at the Uffizi Gallery, Dance of the Cupids. Some of his well know Mythological works include, Danza degli amorini (Dance of the Amorini), The Sleeping Venus, Diana and Actaeon, Diana in the Bath, Danae Reclining, Galatea on the Sea, Venus Attended by Nymphs and Cupids, and Europa the Bull, among others.
He was also commissioned for work in the Chapel of the Quirinal Palace in Rome between 1609 and 1612, working with Reni. Of his later fresco works done for churches in Rome between 1612 and 1616 were the Choir frescos in Santa Maria della Pace and ceiling frescos in the Palazzo Verospi, titled Apollo and the Seasons. Albani painted mainly in Bologna and Rome, but also in Mantua and Florence.
His brother, Giovanni Battista Albani was also a painter, among the many pupils the artist had, including the High Baroque painter, Andrea Sacchi (1599 – 1661).