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"Purkinje Cell of the Cerebellum"

Marta Sytniewski

Oil on Canvas,  

24" x 48"

100% original, 100% hand panted

COPYRIGHT©Marta Sytniewski 2011.




The “Purkinje cell of the Cerebellum” painting, by Marta Sytniewski, vividly illustrates all major components of the principal cerebellar neuron called the Purkinje Cell. In the distance, we notice a long and thin axon receding from the viewer. The axon projects a pat of the cerebellar mossy fiber called the Cerebellar Noradrenergic Afferents (Beitz & Anderson, 2000). As the axon approaches the cell body, we notice the myelin sheath as thin and nearly transparent coating around the axon. A large, spherical, pear-shaped soma gives raise to several primary dendrites. In the second layer of the cerebellar nuclear cortex, called the Purkinje Cell Layer, the cell bodies of the Purkinje neurons are positioned on a single level (Schuenke, Schulte, Schumacher & Ross, 2010). This projection neuron is characterized by its rich dendritic tree with a high density of dendritic spines that are beautifully expressed in this oil painting.


Purkinje cells are the only efferent neurons of the cerebellar cortex and they have a GABA inhibitory effect. They are the second largest neurons in the central nervous system. Purkinje cells feature very large dendritic branches that resemble tree branches. These neurons receive a wide variety of inputs from its numerous parallel fibers that extend deep toward the molecular layer of the cerebellum. The settle variations in tone and color in the background of this painting simulate gradual movement. This is to illustrate the graded, continuous, high frequency activity of the Purkinje Cell.

By applying texture, sculpting the textural effects, modifying paint density and thickness and through targeted use of light and color, the Purkinje Cell painting became perceptually three-dimensional.

Although the “flash” of the camera may lighten and conceal certain colors, the properties of light add to the magnificence and fascination of this painting in its material form. This Purkinje Cell will appear different and anew with each sunrise and sunset, with artificial light and at night. the sculptural quality of the painting will create its own shadows that will project in various positions and quality according to the angle and intensity of light that hits the canvas.


The Anatomical Model:

I wanted to create a three dimensional model of the Purkinje neuron, therefore I constructed a sculptural model to use as reference for my painting. This provided me with a realistic 360 degree spread of the neuron’s dendritic tree. In addition to this, I wanted to project not only the depth of the dendritic tree, but also the depth and distance of this cell in space, as it relates to the viewer. I tilted the angle of the model from a typical side view, to a foreshortened 45 degree rotation on its axis. In the painting, the Purkinje cell’s dendrites are slightly faced toward the viewer and the axon is faced slightly away from the viewer. In this perspective, the dendrites and the axon have a different distance in space in this painting. I constructed this model by using clay, wire, branches and  toothpicks. I sprayed the sculpture with diluted acrylic paint to make the color of the model more uniform. After the model was dried, I placed it on a glass, for a clear view, and I sketched in charcoal the main shapes of the stunning dendritic branches, the oval soma and the long, near-straight axon. I sprayed the canvas drawing with a fixative to prevent the charcoal from smearing and mixing with the paint.



+ Beitz, A.J. & Anderson, J. H. (2000) Neurochemistry of the Vestibular System. CRC Press, Baco Raton, FL.

+ Bell, C.C., Cordo, P.J., Harnad, S.R., ed (1997). Motor Learning and Synaptic Plasticity in the Cerebellum. Cambridge University Press.

+ Schuenke, M., Schulte, E., Schumacher, U., Ross, L. (2010) Thieme Atlas of Anatomy: Head and Neuroanatomy. Thieme Publishers: NY.





This painting features informative, educational and socially constructive content that identifies Marta Sytniewski’s independent Significant Art Theory


Marta Sytniewski's oil paintings are 100% hand painted, they are not computerized and they are not printed. M. Sytniewski’s paintings are authentic 100% artist labor oil paintings.


No reproductions, no limited editions and no copies have been made of  this Beautiful 100% ORIGINAL Marta Sytniewski oil painting.


The technical difficulty, advanced skill level, complex detail, intelligent composition, continuous painting production and education (Trained in art privately, independently and academically since early childhood. Completed B.A. Psychology with highest honors, pursuing M.A. Studio Art), talent of Marta Sytniewski and her work, and scarcity of similar art, combine to valuate Marta Sytniewski's oil paintings as especially lucrative assets with positive and fast-paced projected investment growth.


Marta Sytniewski paintings, her Significant Art Theory and her signature are protected by International and Federal Copyright and by Trademark Laws. COPYRIGHT © M.SYTNIEWSKI, 2011. All rights reserved.


Once a painting is purchased, it is gone permanently and no longer available for sale because it belongs to someone else. No investor contact information will be issued.