Before chess or science, my first passion was drawing, perhaps because I come from a family of artists. My skills were not too bad, as can be seen from the horse shown on the right, which I drew when I was nine. However, my identical twin, Lluis Rizo Rey, drew better than me. From very similar skills, our careers totally diverged as he became an artist and I became a scientist. Nevertheless, art and science are more related than many people think. Salvador Dali once said ‘the aesthetic phenomenon is tightly linked to the history of science even if it is just because both entail experimental choice'.
Lluis and I would add another similarity: the power of observation is crucial for the hyper-realistic style of his paintings and for the detailed studies of molecular mechanisms performed in my lab. In my lectures I often use the painting ‘Holy Eagle’ (shown on the right) to illustrate the scientific principle that, while it is essential to keep ‘the big picture’ in mind, it is also vital to pay attention to details because often the big picture depends on key details.
‘Holy Eagle’ (on the right) represents the life of an old man, but you will miss a central aspect of his life (love) if you do not look in detail. Can you see the face of a woman in the painting?
‘Yeny-Venezuela’ (below) shows another one of the paintings from Lluis where you can find some hidden treasures. Can you see the waterfalls?