Your Brain on Art

Conveying neuroscience through artistic mediums.

Conveying neuroscience through artistic mediums.

Scientists throughout the world know Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934) as the father of modern neuroscience. Now scientists, artists and the public alike know the man to be as important to neuroscience as Einstein is to physics, thanks to The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a traveling museum exhibition presenting 80 of Cajal’s original drawings of the brain.

Among the record-breaking audience for this exhibition were more than 16,000 visitors to the Ackland Art Museum, where the exhibition was on display January-April 2019. Carolina was a fitting home for the exhibition; the University has a thriving Neuroscience Center and the second oldest Neuroscience Ph.D. program in the United States. The Ackland drew on this expertise to add a special twist to the exhibition, presenting contemporary images of the brain created by UNC neuroscientists alongside Cajal’s original drawings.

The Ackland’s presentation of The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal was made possible in part by generous support from Betsy Blackwell & John Watson and the UNC Neuroscience Center at the UNC School of Medicine.

Ackland Art Museum Funding Priorities

    Readers Also Viewed...


    Rare Rembrandts and other Dutch Drawings

    Take a peek at the Peck Collection’s first major exhibition

    An engraving of two indigenous people of North Carolina by Theodor de Bry

    Michael N. Joyner ’77 Donates Collection of Rare Engravings

    Michael N. Joyner ’77 donates collection of rare engravings depicting North Carolina’s original inhabitants to the Ackland Art Museum.

    A member of the Hamel family stands inside a  sculpture outside of the Ackland Art Museum

    Carolina’s Jewel

    The Ackland Museum fosters a comfortable and family-friendly environment.

    Hanging posters promoting the Ackland Art Museum

    Building a Foundation

    "Being a fellow at the Ackland was an invaluable experience."

    Painting at the Ackland Art Museum

    Teaching while learning — the student guide experience

    "Teaching others about art while also still learning new information never gets old."

    The Barzin Family

    ‘A place that has given us so much’

    “It is an incredible gift to be able to view and learn about art in such an accessible venue.”