Andreea Foanene & the Artist Claudia Mandi









A Cultural Encounter





The figurative painting of the artist Claudia Mandi relate to the aesthetic principles of Antiquity as to an unfailing source. The painter feeds her creative experiences from the Greco-Roman Classicism, that, as a palimpsest, superposes its characteristics by the specific innovative re-evaluations in Renaissance, Baroque Fauve or Futurist art.

The art of Claudia Mandi is crossed by slim female characters, whose statuary elegance articulates with their aggressive gesturing, with the chromatic inventiveness, with the boldness of the intimate reveries. Part of her entire work, the subject of the body returns systematically, as a leitmotiv.

The nudity of the painted bodies reveals the fragility exposed in various posts. Sketches of the modern femininity, the silhouettes created by Claudia Mandi seem to have been drawn when the models no longer consider the limits of public or private space.



       Pompeian Red



Through ostentatious or graceful gestures, the characters seem to disrobe the visible and invisible taboos, they seem to manifest through direct physical gestures. The fight of the painter’s characters is led against constraints of any kind. The painting of Claudia Mandi turns transparent the modernity of a certain type of femininity that is placed beyond chronological or stylistic limits, a femininity surprised by the instruments of history or philosophy.



       Roso pompeiano



The theme of the female body, covered in an artistic, scientific, philosophical, analytical manner, comparative and creative, is an integrant valuable part of the creative process of the artist and it returns systematically in Claudia’s work of art, as part of the whole.



       The Architecture of the Air



Artist and art theorist, Claudia Mandi is now in Venice, where she recently presented a series of recent works in the exhibition « Day’s water / Night’s water » (Acqua di giorno- Acqua di notte). I wanted to know more about this new project, so I invited the artist to an open discussion:



       Imaginary Antiquity



Andreea Foanene: I know that « The poetics of water » is the theme of your research project from Istituto Romeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica di Venezia. Could you talk to us about the work you’ve realized during this time?


Claudia Mandi: The « The poetics of water » continues the series of the elements: Air, Earth, Fire- that I began four years ago during the « Vasile Pârvan » scholarship in Rome. Water was missing from the series of elements, and for this forth element my quests could only meet the magic of Venice, the city of water, a huge aquatic theater, the city that fascinates us all. In Venice, water is an exercise, it’s an universal background. My grant project has a theoretical section on the Venetian Baroque, but I am in Venice first and foremost to paint. I paint water and fog effects. Water is my favorite element. In fact, we love Venice for its association with water. Beyond that colorful, charming, such touristic Venice, I want to restore Venice as seen by Wagner, Thomas Mann- Aschenbach, Goethe, Henry James. Living here, I saw Venice differently than the tourists see it, I sensed the dual nature of the city, during the change of seasons or the night and day succession. If during the day the city is dynamic, lively, colorful, bright, at night it turns somber, a mysterious entity whose essence eludes the senses. The series of work « Acqua di giorno / Acqua di notte », begins with this duality and captures the ever changing nature of the city in its different stages, day / night. During the day, the water is like a mirror reflecting the natural light, it amplifies the mirror- effect and reflects the architecture.  During the night, the water is dark, with cold and contrasting depths, and the city seems to be sinking. Venice is a utopian otherworldly city that exists in a different field of reality, built on and separated by water. Venice is the narcissistic city, which adores itself in a form of self-reflection.






Andreea Foanene: The feminine nude is a constant in your painting. What do you think of the body in your painting now? Can we talk about a continuation of an aesthetic, metaphorical, symbolic discourse, or about a moment of fracture, of innovation?


Claudia Mandi: In Italy I discovered « the pagan body ». In Rome I began searching for expressive body movements, which I have found not only in the Renaissance and Baroque- but also in the art of antiquity. My works have become the classic / anticlassic paradox. I have combined styles and techniques from different periods of Italian art. By representing the body, I hope that I have succeeded to bring into my works a type of dynamic that existed in our roots since the Greco-Roman civilization. Up to a certain point, I paint the carnal body, but I actually paint spirits. In all the mass of contorted movements, my painting is actually about what is beyond the body. Even though I hint obviously at the body, these bodies are immaterial. During the Rome scholarship, I have evolved from an extremely colorful and tense neo-expressionism to another manner, to a more gentle one, a type of painting that emerges from the Baroque style, with elements of pre-Raphaelite and ancient Roman painting. Today, my works are paintings of antique inspiration, which are rendered by the modern artist’s soul. My residence in Rome offered me a rapid evolution, a stylistic formula that I could not have achieved without actually living there every day. So far, the peak of my creation coincides with my stay in Rome. Without Rome, I could not have reached the area that I now express. The staying in Rome is the stylistic fracture in my work. These two scholarships in Italy have reawakened the awareness of my latinity.


Andreea Foanene: How do you define the relationship between your artistic skills and the theoretical ones?


Claudia Mandi: The fact that I followed a theoretical department has transformed me. When I was a student in Art History and Theory I was suffering that I did not have time to paint, because I read a lot, I learned, I missed many exhibitions where I was invited. When I escaped from the stress of exams I knew that the study gave me more than it took from me, I realized that all the theoretical luggage had sedimented somewhere inside of me. This overthrew many of my ideas, and it also gave me a balance and a resolution that I hadn’t have before. Whatever ideas I had, I was associating them with time periods, with trends, with authors. I knew intuitively what is genuine and where I should head on. I became more confident about the specter of ideas I didn’t even glimpse before. The only drawback was that I could not keep up with the flux of the ideas that kept coming in. I had notebooks where I schematically drew the ideas that time did not allow me to realize. Since then, I always wear a notebook in my bag, so I can write down. My inner world has become richer. And those aspects are obvious in what I paint now, we can see the correspondence with what I read, with my travels. I became a perfectionist, more intransigent. I do not know yet if this suppresses my spontaneity, my courage, but I will see in the future.


Andreea Foanene: How do you report yourself theoretically to the themes approached so far in your painting and what are your future plans?


Claudia Mandi: The Italian Renaissance and Baroque are a perfect match to my aesthetic preferences. During all the periods of creation, I returned again and again to the Italian art, not only as to a venerated model for my paintings, but also theoretically. I have tried to understand the resorts that have driven this exceptional evolution of the arts in the Italian area. I desired to return to Italy not only in order to paint, but also to continue my theoretical research related to the Italian Baroque, the project that I have begun in Rome. In essence, I have never left Italy. The « Nicolae Iorga » scolarship in Venice gave me the opportunity to study the Veneto Baroque, to actually live in places that make me highly inspired and happy. My return here, in the place I never left emotionally, is a like a love. My creative art project aims at the expansion of my research of the Italian Baroque in Rome and North Italy, alongside my actual work on my paintings.

In Rome, I have passed through an extraordinary artistic itinerary, which has transformed me, which has thrown me into a dialogue not only with the Baroque, but also with the antiquity, with the Roman painting, with Etruscan ceramics, for which I received the scholarship. This is what the Italian art has given me, over and over again: new directions, new challenges; while looking for something, I found something else, new roads opened for me, new directions…  For me, as for most artists, Italy is an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Italy is a country with an exceptional artistic heritage, unparalleled. For an artist, nothing compares with a scholarship in Italy. In Italy I had pre-Raphaelite visions in full post-modern period. In Rome, I connected with the art periods of the past, I have experienced a polyphonic artistic itinerary that marked me, that pushed me into a dialogue with the Antiquity- not only with Baroque. I have merged my attention to detail with the ample breathing of the endless spaces in Pompeii painting. In Rome, an infinitely richer perspective opened up for me– regarding the relationship between the spiritual space, the visual space, idea, feeling, shape. Here, in Venice, I continue what I have started in Rome, here I am thrilled by the cruel light of Tiepollo’s sky, by the flood of colors. This city is located right on the border between reality and dream.

After I returned from Rome, I told to myself that if God granted me the opportunity to live again in Italy, I would live more intensely, I would enjoy every moment. I would not let a day to pass without seeing something new, without exploring. I would sleep less so I can see more beauty, I would dress elegant, because to such a display of splendor, I cannot present myself any other way. I would paint with the blue of Fra Angelico and with the pink of the angel’s flesh. I would not have a heavy heart no matter what, I would sing every night songs that I would dedicate to the palaces, to the statues, to the town where I am. I would celebrate every day the joy of living through something. I would take wing from the winged victories and from the angels, and I would get over anything more easily. I have received again this gift, I am in Venice for one year and I hope to be worthy of all this through what I paint and write.






The colors chosen by Claudia Mandi are strong shades of Pompeian Veronese red, profound violet or deep blue, as if inspired from the preciousness of lapis lazuli. The blue of the sky combines with the cool and refined tones of water waves and creates a comfortable, maternal, feminine, timeless space. The chromatic depths, emphasized by cold, abstract, immaterial tones, highlight the presence of elegant, undulating matter, pure and cold.



       The Carnaval



Colors not found in nature in their pure state, nuances perceptible through overlapping of spatial accretions, Claudia Mandi’s variations of blues walk our thought into a world of reverie, of dream, into a space of regeneration, of nostalgia and rest. The female bodies imagined by the artist are born of overlapping chromatic compositions with dancing physical postures. Part of the aquatic reverie whole, the feminine body is presented by Claudia Mandi in full youth, strength, and ideal health. Through the classical grace of feminine bodies, the artist reiterates a trace of beauty, defined by the principle of kalokagathia.

In this sense, the silhouettes of Claudia Mandi’s paintings are an expression of the encounter of moral virtues with physical beauty, of the union between beauty, wellness, aesthetics and ethics.

Artist and art theorist, Claudia Mandi has graduated two cultural specializations: Painting (1991-1997), Art History and Art Theory (2008-2011) and a Master (2004 -2006), following the courses of the Faculty of Arts and Design in Timisoara. The painter has realized personal and group exhibitions in Romania and Europe. Italy is the country where Claudia Mandi found inspiration for the most important creations. Her commitment to the Mediterranean space can be found both in her art exhibitions in Italy, as well as at the level of her artistic fellowships in Rome and in Venice.



       Violet Venice



The exhibition « Water day / night Water » (Acqua di giorno- Acqua di notte) complete in a logical, artistic, deep and creative way, a stylistic and thematic direction that Claudia Mandi refined gradually, fructifying the qualities of her pictorial talent with the advantages of the scientific research.



       The Jump



       Dante’s Universe – We are infinite













About Claudia Mandi:


1991-1997 – Faculty of Fine Arts – Universitatea de Vest (department – Visual Arts – Painting) – Timişoara – România / 2004 -2006 – Master – Faculty of Fine Arts – Universitatea de Vest – Timişoara România / 2008-2011 – Faculty of Fine Arts – Section Art History and Art Theory – Universitatea de Vest – Timişoara România / From 1998 – member of the Artists’ Union of Romania / 2007 – member of the International Council of Museums I.C.O.M

A selection of personal exhibitions:
2016- ICR Gallery – Venice/ 2014- “Academia di Romania” , Rome/ 2010 – “Museum Etnografico” Palau – Sardegna, Italy / 2010 – News Paper “Il Denaro” – Napoli, Italy / 2009 – “Teatro dei Dioscuri” – Roma, Italy / Library “Cărtureşti” – Timişoara / 2008 – “Helios”gallery, Timişoara / Library “Cărtureşti” Timişoara / 2007 – Galeria” Marani” Roma, Italy / Library “Cărtureşti” – Timişoara / 2006 – Gallery” Helios” – Timişoara /


More information about the artist on her personal site:







About Andreea Foanene


Short Bio

Artist and art theoretician, Andreea Foanene, PhD in Visual Arts at West University of Timişoara IOSUD, followed a bilingual Master in European Cultural Politics (2009) at the West University in Timişoara, Faculty of Arts and Design, where she also started her artistic education, graduating Painting (2007) and Visual Art History (2013).

During 2009, the artist attended a Curatorial internship granted by the French Cultural Institute in Timişoara. As a curator, she coordinated a series of projects dedicated to emerging young artists.

As a visual artist, she presented her works in private shows: File de pictură (2013), C.R.A.F.T Timişoara; Prospecţii iconice (2012), Gyula, Hungary; Sublimarea spaţiului în pictură, (2011) The French Institute of Timisoara; Recalling-Arhitecture and Dynamics of Light, (2010) Budapest; Refugien (2010), Heidelberg, Germany; Proiecte de ieri şi de azi (2010); Pupettissima (2009), Administrating Palace from Timisoara; Relocuirea copilăriei (2009) Calina Gallery in Timisoara. She attended more than 50 group exhibitions, locally and abroad.  

From 2010, the author has published articles, scientific papers and critical texts in artistic and cultural journals and took part as a co-author in important theoretic projects, as: the online encyclopedia Un secol de sculptură românească or the volume Tradiţie şi Postmodernitate, 200 de ani de artă plastică în Banat. In 2016 she published her first author book, Ipostaze ale lui Artist Ludens în Arta Modernă.

Andreea Foanene lives and works in Timişoara, România. 


Personal webpage:


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