Martha Vines

Lecturer, Art History


I know, Art History sounds like a dusty, old, defunct, and boring discipline (I think it’s that term "history"). But give us the opportunity, and I promise you'll change your mind! Art Historians study art and architecture within their historical contexts. What better way to travel, visit ancient (and some not so!) sites, participate in archaeological digs, visit museums and galleries, and, importantly, discover the infinite connections to be made between these historical cultures and their visual legacy in the world in which we live today. When considering your major or minor, almost every discipline you might think of can have a direct relationship to the discipline of Art History: Are you a geologist? Perfect for the study of Paleolithic cave paintings! A chemist? You might study the intricate nature of the pigment ultramarine, made from lapis lazuli, which was as valuable as gold in the ancient and medieval worlds! Not to mention its dramatically-located site of origin... Afghanistan! Are you interested in human nature? Artists from Michelangelo to Jackson Pollock provide perfect case studies for biographical, psychological, and sociological exploration. Are you thinking of English as a major or minor? There is no better marriage than literature and art. In fact, artists and authors have historically worked hand in hand to produce a final product in terms of illustrated texts. What about engineering, in its myriad of "forms"? Be the one to solve one of the many mysteries associated with ancient and medieval architectural form and design, an exploration that might take you to interesting points of interest: the study of the principles of stone, concrete, or brick construction; or the study of knowledge inherently displayed by ancient "architects" of the past as they built giant amphitheatres, soaring cathedrals, massive domed structures, and intriguing burial tombs (the Pyramids)!

Along the way, we'll assist you with the skills and tools needed for good note-taking, effective study habits, and thinking and reading critically... all of which will serve you well in your life beyond the classroom.

We look forward to having you as a student in our Department!

You can learn more about me at


  • M.A., Religion, Vanderbilt University, 2001
  • B.A., Art History, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, 1999

Classes Taught

Honors and Awards

  • UAH Instructional Mini-Grant, continuing support of the Digital Imaging Database project, 2008
  • UAH Instructional Mini-Grant, Digital Imaging Database project, 2007
  • Academic Tuition Scholarship, Vanderbilt University, 1999-2001
  • Academic Achievement Award, Dept. of Art & Art History, UAH, 1999
  • 1st Place, Undergraduate Essay Competition, Southeastern 19th Century Studies Association, 1994


  • The Parthenon, Nashville: "GREEK MYTHS: Their Enduring Legacy and Inspiration in Western Art," Parthenon Saturday Series, 2009
  • Modern Art (4-week series), Parthenon Lecture Series, 2004
  • Pre-Raphaelite Paper, Parthenon Lecture Series, 2004
  • Society for Ancient Languages, UAH: Lecture: "Imperial Architecture & Early Christian Basilica Design: Church of the Holy Sepulchre as Transition Monument", 2009
  • Lecture/Tour: Parthenon, Medieval Exhibit at the Frist, and Nashville Architecture, 2009
  • Lecture/Tour: St. Francis & St. Clare: visit to St. Bernard Abbey & Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 2007
  • Lecture: "The Ancient Authors in Art", 2007
  • Lecture: "Ovid's Fasti in Art", 2004
  • Lecture: "Ovid's Metamorphoses in Art", 2003
  • Huntsville-Madison County Public Library: "Art Deco: Beautiful Lines" ('The Big Read'), 2006
  • "An Essay in Perspectives: The Lady of Shalott", Southeastern 19th Century Studies Association Conference, Lexington, Kentucky, 1994


  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Phi Alpha Theta
  • Sigma Tau Delta
  • The Parthenon, Nashville, Docent Instructor, 2004-Present
  • Archaeological Institute of America


OLD THEBES: Remembering a Mississippi River town

I worked on a narrative history of this unique Mississippi River town and its environs, the ancestral home of my paternal family. While the town was more or less dismantled in the 1990s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, two historic structures remain standing, majestically watching over the great River which divides the United States into halves. The Courthouse was built in 1848 of local stone and is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The Bridge was built in 1902-1905 and was deemed, at the time, to be the largest cantilever bridge in the world. I am beginning the application process for National Register status for the Bridge. The construction of the Bridge is beautifully documented in the photographic narrative recorded by the chief resident engineer Walter E. Angier; it has been a privilege to assist in the compiling of these photographs into "The Walter E. Angier Collection: 1902-1905 Thebes Railroad Bridge" and I hope to see them more widely accessible to the public within a text of their own. During World War I, one of the largest explosives plants in the world was located several miles south of Thebes, serving as an important place of employment for the men and women of Alexander County. Today only great concrete foundations remain, but this site, too, remains to be formally researched and documented.