Martin Nixon

PhD from York University, United Kingdom.


Martin Nixon is Assistant Professor of Art History at Zayed University, UAE. He obtained his PhD in Art History from York University, UK, and his Masters from the Open University, UK. Martin’s research interests include Early Modern architecture, Southern Italian art and architecture, architecture and political power, the reception of ornament, and intercultural interactions and hybridity in art. His dissertation was on architecture and aristocratic power in eighteenth-century Sicily. He has a forthcoming book on this topic with Amsterdam University Press, and he has presented his research at conferences in the UK and Italy. In 2011, Martin received the Association of Art Historians John Fleming Travel Award for architectural research in Italy.
In addition to his research in architectural history, Martin is interested in questions of modernism and modernity, and in the relationship between the western art historical tradition and other cultures. Martin’s undergraduate degree was in Fine Art (Painting), and he retains an interest in the history of painting and printmaking.


Dubai Academic City, Dubai


+971 4 402 1686

Teaching Areas

ART220 Arts of the Modern World, ART221 Research Methods in Art and Design, AAH322 History of Islamic Art and Architecture, AAH355 History of Design.

Research and Professional Activities

Conference Papers
 “The Palazzo Biscari Ballroom in Catania. Lightness, Refinement and Aristocratic Distinction” at Experience the Court, Open University UK, April 2019.
“Order and Ordering in the Hexagonal Towns of Avola and Grammichele” at From Building to Continent: How Architecture Makes Territories, University of Kent, June 2018.
Books and Book Chapters

  • Architecture and Power in Eighteenth-Century Sicily: Rebuilding in the Val di Noto after Natural Disaster. Amsterdam University Press. Forthcoming.
  • “The Philosophies in Stone: Reading the Sansevero Chapel in Naples” in Zirpolo (ed.) The Chapels of Italy from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Centuries: Art, Patronage and Identity (New Jersey, 2010).
  • “Early Modern Chapel Decoration in Southern Italy: The Historical Background” in Zirpolo (ed.) The Chapels of Italy from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Centuries: Art, Patronage and Identity (New Jersey, 2010).
  • Architecture, Opportunity, and Conflict in Eighteenth-Century Sicily Rebuilding after Natural Disaster.


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