Santiago Ramón y Cajal was born on May 1, 1852, in Petilla, an isolated village in the Pyrenees. Both parents were sturdy native Aragonese. The father was a man of unusual ambition and ability who was not to be satisfied with his hard-earned status of "surgeon of the second class." Accordingly, he soon left Petilla and his peasant practice, completed a course in medicine and moved his family to Zaragoza, where he finally became professor of anatomy in the university. Such capacity and such an example were the heritage of Cajal.
His own grim experience with poverty and obscurity, as well as his natural disposition, made the elder Ramón very ambitious for his son, for whom he early prescribed a classical education and a career in medicine. But young Cajal had interests of his own. He loved to draw, and he wanted more than anything else to become an artist.
SPRONG W. SANTIAGO RAMÓN Y CAJAL 1852-1934. Arch NeurPsych. 1935;33(1):156-162. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1935.02250130162010