With the aid of methods for colouring cells so they could be studied under a microscope, Cajal successfully mapped different types of nerve cells in the brain. Cajal, a medical doctor, was also a highly talented artist. His drawings of what he saw under the microscope showed the nervous system with marvellous clarity.
Cajal’s drawings are a fine example of a convergence between art and science. A number of his images will now be displayed at the Nobel Prize Museum as part of an exhibition entitled Synapses: Science and art in Spain from Ramón y Cajal to the 21st century.
In addition to Ramón y Cajal’s drawings, the exhibition will feature works by poet Federico García Lorca and artist Salvador Dalí. It will also display works by five contemporary visual artists who have been strongly influenced by Cajal. These works are connected in various ways to international scientific projects:
• Works by the Catalan painter Regina Giménez inspired by cosmic motifs.
• Photographs by Jose Manuel Ballester, figurative painter and photographer, showing Atapuerca archaeological site in Spain.
• Images of the sun from the named Swedish Telescope from astronomic observatory in the Canary Islands by photographer and artist Carlos A. Schwartz.
• Paula Anta’s photos about the density of three branches connected to the video Cajal Blue Brain Project, which illustrates the complexity of the brain.
• Images inspired on Margarita Salas investigations by the graphic artist Eva Lootz.
The exhibition will be on display from 25 November to 4 December and is the result of a collaboration between three Spanish government ministries − the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation; the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training; and the Ministry of Science and Innovation − in partnership with the Cervantes Institute and the Provincial Council of Huesca.
The 1906 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Italian pathologist Camillo Golgi were jointly awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system”.