Cerebellar Purkinje Cell
Have you heard of Santiago Ramón y Cajal? He was a doctor in Spain who made legendary contributions to neuroanatomy, and created some really amazing drawings. It is perhaps not surprising that he himself really wanted to be an artist, but his father was the one who drove him into medicine. I can’t say I am too sad that he was pushed into the medical field, because what he did was remarkable- he joined together art and science to study the brain and create images that we still study today.
He discovered a number of neurons, including the axonal growth cone, and described neuronal connectivities and structures that were not clear before. He used a Golgi Stain (which is silver nitrate). The Golgi staining method stains neurons randomly, but in their entirety (so it does not stain all neurons in a slice, but it will stain cell body AND dendrites AND axons of the neurons it does stain). This was perfect for Ramón y Cajal and he drew the neurons that he saw through his microscope.
This drawing is of a cerebellar purkinje cell. Do you see what I mean about it looking very tree-like? This is just one of the yellow stained cells from this image.