For over 100 years the link between synaesthesia and the arts has attracted controversy. This has been spurred by the production of auditory, literary and visual art by famous individuals who report experiences synonymous with the neurological condition. Impressive protagonists in this discussion include Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Vasily Kandinsky, Vladimir Nabokov, Alexander Scriabin, Olivier Messiaen and David Hockney. Interdisciplinary debates have concerned whether synaesthesia can actively contribute to an artist's ability, whether it is a driving force or a mere idiosyncratic quirk and whether, fundamentally, it is a distinct idiopathic condition or an unusual metaphorical description of normal perception. Recent psychological and neuroscientific evidence offers a new level to the debate. Coherent patterns of a neural basis of synaesthesia have been confirmed with high spatial resolution brain imaging techniques and the link with the arts is transpiring to be more than superficial or coincidental. Moreover, the neural distinction of the synaesthete brain may prove to be a window into a neural basis of creative cognition, and therefore conducive to the expression of creativity in various media.