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Last Look Tour: “The Beautiful Brain”

7 April | 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

On the exhibition’s final day, join Peter Nisbet, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, for a final reflection on the captivating Cajal drawings and contemporary scientific images of The Beautiful Brain.

About The Beautiful Brain

Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s drawings of the brain are both aesthetically astonishing and scientifically significant. The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal is the first museum exhibition to present these amazing works within their historical context.

Scientists throughout the world know Cajal (1852–1934) as the father of the study of the structure and function of the brain—i.e. modern neuroscience. One of his most important discoveries was that individual cells called neurons make up the brain (most late-19th century scientists believed that the brain was a continuous, interconnected network). The centerpiece of The Beautiful Brain is 80 original drawings by Cajal lent by the Cajal Institute in Madrid, Spain. Contemporary neuroscience imagery provides a context for these remarkable works. Read more…



The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal was organized by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota with the Cajal Institute, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.

The Ackland presentation of this exhibition has been made possible in part by generous support from Betsy Blackwell & John Watson and the UNC Neuroscience Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, calyces of Held in the nucleus of the trapezoid body, 1934, ink and pencil on paper. 5 5/8 × 3 5/8 in. (14.2 × 9.1 cm). Courtesy of Instituto Cajal (CSIC).



7 April
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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Ackland Art Museum
101 S. Columbia Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States