As a recent slide show makes clear, as technology and our understanding of the brain have advanced, the ways we visualize its inner working has changed:
Over the 100-year history of modern neuroscience, the way we think about the brain has evolved with the sophistication of the techniques available to study it. Improvements in microscope design and manufacture, together with the development of cell-staining techniques, afforded neuroscientists their first glimpse at the specialized cells that make up the nervous system. Microscopes with more magnifying power enabled them to probe nerve cells in greater detail, revealing distinct compartments. Newer techniques expose the connections between nerve cells, revealing the complex organization of the brain.
Anybody who's interested in the brain -- or in pretty pictures -- will enjoy these images. (The image at the top of this post, for example, is a drawing from 1899, showing "finely branched Purkinje cells, large neurons in the cerebellum that play an important role in controlling movement."