[Perspectives] The art of observation
Growing up, Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934) wanted to be an artist, but his father, a physician, wanted him to be a doctor. A gifted painter, sketcher, and observer of nature, he found his way to medicine through anatomical drawing, which led to a career in histology and neuroscience. In 1906, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Camillo Golgi “in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system”. Golgi’s famous staining method had enabled visualisation of individual neurons, facilitating, among other things, Cajal’s thousands of iconic drawings, about 80 of which are the centrepiece of the touring exhibition The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the elegant companion book.