Art from molecular models

"Heme", by Alexander Kobulnicky

In my travels here and about online, I recently found the paintings of Alexander Kobulnicky. He paints molecular models of, well, molecules, ranging from the life-giving (“Heme”, to the left) to the fun-related (THC, if that’s your thing) to the life-taking (CO.) The background of the artwork is most noteworthy — Mr. Kobulnicky paints what comes to mind with each different molecule. I think that thorazine is the one with the best background, although psilocybin comes in a close second.

Each painting comes with a little description of the relevant chemistry and an interesting structural note to make a chemist’s heart warm: “These molecules are rendered as space-filling models, in a natural, low-energy conformation, and displayed from an angle that shows off as much of their structure as possible.”

While I’m not quite to the art-collecting stage of my life yet, I have to say that I’m pretty enthusiastic about owning one of these someday.


  1. I love an image of a nebula like any good scientist but it is nice to see someone do art for chemistry. His work reminds me of Italian frescoes.

  2. Thanks for pointing out this art. I could definately see this as being good point of discussion if you were to purchase any of these – especially the CO painting.

  3. I second Sean’s comment – and I like the CO one the best from those you linked!!! I actually paint, but my acrylic stuff is more crystals-through-polarized-light sort of stuff.

    Do you guys remember a woman mentioned in C&EN a couple years ago who made by treating copper with chemicals? (And by a couple apparently I meant FOUR!) – if you start collecting, I’d add some of Cheryl Safren to the mix.

  4. Don’t know if my second link worked but her website is here:

  5. I liked Kobulnicky’s bio

    “after spilling a beaker of nitric acid on his hand, he decided to leave applied chemistry to more adroit students, and took a degree in philosophy at the University of Connecticut instead.”

    The Degree in Philosophy reflected in his art.

  6. Here are some other examples of art based around molecules hope everyone likes. molecule pictures

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