Florence – An Early Epicenter of the Renaissance

Isabel Harris Eide blog post
An independent city-state with a population of 60,000 in the early 15th century, Florence achieved its wealth through the manufacture and trade of wool and other cloth. Since the 14th century, the city state had been organized into a dozen artist guilds. These commercially focused trade organizations were underpinned by a robust banking system, with the gold florin accepted as standard coinage across the Continent.

The rise of Florentine culture came after the threat from the Duke of Milan was vanquished and the Medici family came into their own as benevolent rulers who supported the arts. Committed to a new form of humanism, leading thinkers and artists drew inspiration from the achievements of earlier Florentine notables, including Dante Alighieri and Giotto.

Over a period of a century, elaborate paintings and sculptures were commissioned for churches, commercial buildings, and private residences throughout the city. Key figures in this vibrant emergence of the arts included Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli.


About the author


Isabel Harris Eide

A psychology student at the University of Miami, Isabel Harris Eide has had the opportunity to travel to diverse countries spanning the globe, from Southeast Asia to Italy. While in Florence, Isabel Harris Eide took Italian culinary classes and studied art history. Florence was at the epicenter of the Renaissance, which involved a rebirth of arts and learning throughout much of Europe.


Beyonce’s Lemonade – An R&B-Rooted Narrative of Overcoming Adversity

Isabel Harris Eide
Isabel Harris Eide

Isabel Harris Eide studies psychology at the University of Miami and enjoys playing sports such as tennis and volleyball. Also passionate about music, Isabel Harris Eide enjoys a variety of genres, from dance music to R&B and hip hop. One of the most critically acclaimed releases of early 2016, hip hop megastar Beyoncé’s sixth solo album, Lemonade, was, like her previous album, released with minimal notice through a guerrilla marketing campaign.

In many ways, Lemonade is the ultimate contemporary concept album, as it traces a narrative of “infidelity and reconciliation” that is informed by her high-profile marriage to rapper Jay-Z. It is also an assertion of pride in Beyoncé’s ethnicity as an African American and in the musical forebears and collaborators that inform her identity, from Nina Simone to The Weeknd.

An accompanying HBO movie brings home the visual nature of the album and focuses on the importance of overcoming obstacles and challenges across generations. Lemonade-making and the ability to make something from nothing are the thematic glue that underpins her multigenerational concept of woman-rooted strength.