Cajal and the Art of Neuroscience by Grazia Hanea

Cajal and the Art of Neuroscience by Grazia Hanea

Initially, Santiago Ramón y Cajal wanted to become an artist; however, his parents encouraged him to pursue a career path in medicine. Nevertheless, Cajal continued to use his artistic abilities to create exquisitely beautiful images of neurons. His drawings of these web-like matrices are intricate, complex, and elegant. Through the power of art, Cajal brought to light the fascinating inner world of the brain.

I chose to make a tondo–a round drawing–to evoke the circular eyepiece of the microscope through which Cajal is looking. The neuron that he observes seems to magically emerge from the microscope; thus, an organic neuron pattern is projected onto the background.

On the rim of the drawing, I added the following quote: “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his brain.” Here, Cajal likens man to a craftsman who chisels a block of stone; this metaphor reveals the plasticity of the brain, and man’s own potential to restructure it.

Cajal represents the symbiosis of art and neuroscience; therefore, he stands as a fitting emblem for the Brain and Mental Health Art Show.

About The Artist

Grazia is a first-year Humanities student at Carleton University.

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