Esce Neurocomic!

Great news! From tomorrow you should be able to find the beautiful Italian edition of Neurocomic by Rizzoli Lizard.

As you may know, I have been living abroad for most of my adult life and I am not particularly inclined to nationalistic sentimentalities, but I can’t help feeling some pride in seeing this book translated in my mother tongue. So I have decided to indulge in a little celebratory drawing: here is Luigi Galvani, pioneer of neuroscience, losing his experimental subjects in a dark and stormy Bologna (our common hometown). The comic geeks amongst you can also have some fun spotting a couple of hidden references to popular Italian logos.

Thanks to all of you who supported me. When I started working on Neurocomic two years ago I would have never imagined this day would come.

Galvani Neurocomic Farinella

Duchenne smile (or COPY #6)

Duchenne Farinella Neurocomic

Here is a little illustration inspired by the latest Neurocomic talk at The Cube London. Our guest speaker Philip Loring, curator of Psychology at the Science Museum, guided us through the fascinating history of electrotherapy with a series of paintings, concluding with The Nerves Of The Army by CRW Nevinson.

CRW Nevinson Nerves Army

CRW Nevinson (1918) Nerves of the Army,
Oil on canvas, 88.9 x 54 cm (c) Imperial War Museums

So I think this also counts as my monthly copy, although heavily modified to omage Dr. Duchenne de Bolougne, one of the fathers of modern neurology and great practitioner of electrotherapy himself, which he employed to study the “physiology of emotions”. His pionering photographs were later used for the illustrations in Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

Figure 20 from Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). Caption reads "FIG. 20.—Terror, from a photograph by Dr. Duchenne"

Figure 20 from Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). Caption reads “FIG. 20.—Terror, from a photograph by Dr. Duchenne”

Also, did you know that Duchenne “determined that smiles resulting from true happiness not only utilize the muscles of the mouth but also those of the eyes. Such “genuine” smiles are known as Duchenne smiles in his honor.” ? This is why I love Wikipedia.

Finally, if this electric medley of science-art and history is not enough for your voracious brains, I strongly recommend the recent article Can you supercharge your brain? on Mosaic Science, reporting the current applications of transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) in military training. Some crazy story…


May has been a pretty busy month: I’m back at work on the second season of MCB80x and I also started a new exciting collaboration with another American university… but I still found the time to make this little illustration, inspired by the talk Mike Jay gave on the 3rd of May, part of a series of events accompanying the Neurocomic exhibition at TheCube. If you are in London please come to see Philip Loring talk on the 5th of June.

endorphin, neurocomic, farinella

The illustration represents a molecule of endorphin getting distracted, while a sneaky opioid opens a μ receptor. Opium (also known as ‘poppy tears’) is one the most popular drugs of all times. Read more about the history of mind altering substances in High Society.

UCL illustrations

OK, let’s start this month with some overdue news. Recently I have been working on 2 sets of illustrations for UCL. The first set will be used occasionally on the main UCL homepage.

Farinella UCL

The second set was commissioned by the UCL Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. I was particularly pleased with this as it allowed me, once again, to combine science and art.

Matteo Farinella UCL

Matteo Farinella UCL

If you can’t wait to see them all you can find them on my website:

Copy #4

The copy of this month is of The Depths Of A Wound, a visionary lithography by Fritz Kahn, from 1943. This one was hard work but after all Kahn is one of my very favourite artists, pioneer of scientific illustrations and infographics. Unfortunately I was not able to find the original legend. However I think I can recognize bacterias sneaking in the broken wound, some lymphocytes coming down to fight them and the platelets try to stop the beading. A real masterpiece!

NOTE: This illustration and many others have been recently collected in a beautiful monograph, edited by Taschen and curated by Uta and Thilo von Debschiz, who have been kind enough to provide some additional info in the comments below. Visit for more details

Kahn Depths Of A Wound Farinella Copy

Black ink, pens and pencil (297 mm x 420mm )

PS: you can see some work in progress in the pictures published by Fumettologica last week.

Arcimboldo Brain

Arcimboldo Brain Farinella

acrylics and pencils on paper (270 x 350 mm)

This month I didn’t have time to make any copy because I was busy setting up the Neurocomic exhibition (if you happen to be in London please join us on the 3rd of April at TheCube). However, I made this Arcimboldo-inspired illustration for a fundraising dinner which Dr. Jacopo Annese is organizing in San Diego. You can think of it of a sagittal section of this guy:

Arcimboldo vertemnus

Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, c. 1590-1