Tuesday 21 September 2010

The histological slides and drawings of Cajal

From Wikipedia.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852 – 1934) was a Spanish histologist, psychologist, and Nobel laureate. His pioneering investigations of the microscopic structure of the brain were original: he is considered by many to be the father of modern neuroscience. He was skilled at drawing, and hundreds of his illustrations of brain cells are still used for educational purposes today.

This PAPER is a catalogue of his drawings and slides.  In it the authors quote Cajal on how he did his  drawings;

“The camera lucida, even when one is accustumed to its use through much practise, is only useful to fi x the contour of the principal objects: any labour of detail must be done without the aid of that instrument,
which  has,  in  addition,  the  inconvenience  of  dazzling  the  delicate details….Reproduction  by  freehand  drawing  is  the  best  procedure when  one  has  some  habit  and  liking  for  artistic  painting”. 

An example below - a drawing of Purkinje cells (A) and granule cells (B) from pigeon cerebellum by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1899. Instituto Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain.