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Per Krafft the Younger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Per Krafft
Born 1777
Died 1863
Nationality Swedish

Per Krafft the younger (1777–1863) was a Swedish painter of portraits and history paintings.

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Sometimes spiders live in huge social communities, and sometimes they share food so equitably that they all starve to death. Spiders don’t usually hang out with each other because they’re highly territorial – and sometimes cannibals. But of the 40-thousand-plus identified species of spiders, we know 25 to be social. One such species, the South American Anelosimus eximius, has been observed in colonies of 50 thousand individual spiders living in communal, 3D webs that span 25 feet by 5 feet, arching through several trees. These critters cooperate on web upkeep, prey capture, and childcare. Broodcare? (It involves female spiders – which comprise between 78 and 95 percent of any given colony – regurgitating food for the youngsters. Including youngsters that aren’t their own.) They self-select tasks based on what each unique spider is personally suited for. Beyond that, the entire neighborhood shares their food supply when the hunting’s good, ensuring that no spider goes hungry. Or that’s how it usually works. In every generation, about 21 percent of healthy, established A. eximius colonies suddenly collapse and die off. As in, no survivors. It’s like the end of The Thing, except infinitely worse because there’s no Kurt Russell and the entire cast is spiders. So a team of entomologists out of the University of British Columbia tried to figure out why this happens. They experimented with spider populations in the lab – but they also used MATH. They were looking at prey size and individuals’ behavior in growing colonies. Their mathematical model and experiments showed that the spiders tend to hog smaller prey and share larger ones around. Meaning there’s probably a limit to what a spider considers worth defending. Smaller colonies have smaller webs that catch smaller prey. In those cases, the spiders are mostly competing for food. Some individuals may starve, but the overall colony persists. In studies of animal behavior, that’s called contest competition. However, when a web gets big enough to catch all large prey all the time, it seems that the spiders start sharing. They even give preferential food access to the hungrier spiders. That’s called scramble competition. But they’re bringing in less overall food per spider capita. They wind up sharing it so fairly that no one has enough. And boom: Colony extinction, not with a bang but a whimper. But don’t worry -- A. eximius populations remain pretty healthy overall. Which is great, because studying them has led to lots of hypotheses about the evolution of arachnid social behavior. Further research could help scientists get a better handle on how competitive animal behavior is influenced by environmental factors – and how populations are influenced by competitive animal behavior. So what do you think about all this? Would you want to see an A. eximius web in person? Or is this entire topic making you itch for a flamethrower? Get in touch and let us know. And for more about what’s going on in science now – later – head over to



Krafft to study at the Art Academy in Stockholm as a child, from 1783 to 1796. He studied with Lorens Pasch the Younger. In 1787 he received his first medal. In 1795 he painted the 18-year-old a bust of Francois-Emmanuel Guignard de Saint-Priest.

Portrait of Christina Hjorth by Krafft.
Portrait of Christina Hjorth by Krafft.

Influenced by Louis Masreliez in 1796, he went to Paris, where he became a student of Jacques-Louis David. In 1801, for the Academy exhibition in Stockholm, Krafft sent homethree works: Belisarius , a smiling Cupid, and Paris as a shepherd, all composed in neoclassical relief style. In 1802 he traveled to Italy, where he drew cityscapes, studying ancient and copied Raphael . In May 1803 he returned from Florence to Paris, where he copied and executed portrait commissions.

After 5 years in Italy in 1805, he came back to Stockholm. He became court painter. In 1808, Krafft was appointed Deputy Professor of the Academy. From 1818 to 1856, he was professor of drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts. After Carl Fredrik von Breda's death in 1818, he was elected professor of drawing. As a professor, he served until April 1856.

Per Krafft the Younger became over the years more and more original, his teaching method was dry and dogmatic, but he had a formidable, forthright behavior.[1]


He was the son of Per Krafft the elder and Maria Vilhelmina Ekebom and the brother of Wilhelmina Krafft. He married Brita Sofia Robsahm (1784–1854).


  1. ^ Carlquist, Gunnar , eds (1933). Swedish dictionary . Bd 15 . Malmo Swedish Uppslagsbok AB. p. 1175-76

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This page was last edited on 26 July 2018, at 00:07
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