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Acta Neurológica Colombiana

Print version ISSN 0120-8748


PALACIOS SANCHEZ, Leonardo; VERGARA MENDEZ, Laura Daniela; LIEVANO, Juan Pablo  and  GUERRERO, Alejandro. Santiago Ramon y Cajal, neuroscientist and painter. Acta Neurol Colomb. [online]. 2015, vol.31, n.4, pp.454-461. ISSN 0120-8748.

The life of this extraordinary scientist and painter has been studied by multiple generations, fascinated by the way he harmoniously mixes his passions. Santiago Felipe Ramón y Cajal, better known as Don Santiago Ramón y Cajal (the "Don" as a title of the importance of the age and the "Y" as a way to give renown to their surnames) or referred by many simply as "Cajal" - by the sound of the surname). He was born in the province of Catalonia, first child of the union of Justo Ramón Casasús and Antonia Cajal. His father, a physician, saw in him a successor of the profession, which is why at very young age, he demanded of him the best academic performance and reproached him for his fascination with art. His childhood was marked by many events that would lead him to be charmed with nature and want to translate this into his drawings. The influence of his father was successful because he became a physician. Eager to know other places and with the thirst of an adventurer, he travelled to Cuba, but it was not the experience he had imagined. On his return he found many opportunities that forged his career as a scientist and gave him strength as a person. He married at the age of 27 years with Silveria Fañanás, who became the mother of his six children, and was the engine of his life. With his insatiable curiosity, his painter´s spirit and with some help, he described in detail the nerve cells and portrayed in his drawings the magnificent structure and relationships thereof, successfully comparing them with nature, referring to "The Garden of Neurology". He was always a romantic landscape painter, intrigued as much by the macro (with his drawings of nature and anatomy) as the micro (histology); the latter was his greatest passion. All his work bore many fruits, which still amaze us today. Through his hard work and his refusal to placate his inner painter, he managed to mix his passions to their maximum potential, leaving behind a priceless legacy.

Keywords : Artist; Nobel Prize; Neuronal Doctrine.

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