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CNIO Arte is an initiative that establishes contact between scientists and leading international artists to explore the common territories between scientific research and artistic creation. It is inspired by the book published by the CNIO Excelentes, with photographs by Amparo Garrido and texts by Mónica G. Salomone, which presents portraits and biographies of prestigious scientists. Every year, CNIO Arte invites one of the Excelentes scientists and an artist to engage in a dialogue that results in the creation of one or more pieces by the artist.

It is supported by the Fundación Banco Santander and in its first two editions it has also had the collaboration of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology – Ministry of Science.

The first edition of CNIO Arte 2018 featured the celebrated visual artist Eva Lootz and the pioneering scientist in molecular biology Margarita Salas; the second edition in 2019 brought together the photographer Chema Madoz, an internationally renowned conceptual artist, and the scientist Ignacio Cirac, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching (Germany) and expert in quantum computing; in the third edition of CNIO Arte in 2020, we had the visual artist Carmen Calvo and the paleoanthropologist Juan Luis Arsuaga; the fourth edition, in 2021, brought together the artist Daniel Canogar, author of high-impact works exhibited in almost every continent; and the computational biologist Sarah Teichmann, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (Cambridge, UK), co-founder of the international Humal Cell Atlas project; the CNIO Arte 2022 edition featured Susana Solano, one of Spain’s most internationally renowned sculptors, and the medical epidemiologist Pedro Alonso, Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Malaria Programme; and, finally, in this edition of CNIO Art 2023, we had the visual artist Amparo Garrido and the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology (2009), Elizabeth Blackburn.

The CNIO Arte project is based on the fundamental principle that science and art are indispensable for understanding and interpreting the world and that each can inspire the other. According to CNIO director María A. Blasco, “Scientists and artists have always looked into the unknown, the darkness, entered it without fear and with an open mind, in order to learn, to see beyond”.