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, the reception of ornament, and transnational connections in art history. He has recently begun new research on historic houses of the Arabian Peninsula and their connections with the Indian Ocean trade routes. In 2023 he published a book with Amsterdam University Press on architecture and aristocratic power in the rebuilding of the Val di Noto in Sicily. In 2011, Martin received the Association of Art Historians John Fleming Travel Award for architectural research in Italy.

Martin’s undergraduate degree was in Fine Art (Painting), and he retains an interest in the history of painting and printmaking. He is a member of the Association of Art Historians (UK), European Architectural History Network, H-Net Art History, Italian Art Society, Historians of Islamic Art Association.


Dubai Academic City, Dubai


+971 4 402 1686

Teaching Areas

AAH322 History of Islamic Art and Architecture, AAH 324 Contemporary Islamic Art and Architecture, AAH355 History of Design, AAH426 History of Interior Design, ART220 Introduction to Art History, ART221 Research Methods in Art and Design,

Research and Professional Activities

Books and Book Chapters:

Architecture, Opportunity, and Conflict in Eighteenth-Century Sicily: Rebuilding after Natural Disaster. (Amsterdam, 2023).

“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).

Conference Papers:

“The Bait Al Naboodah, Sharjah. A Nineteenth-Century Merchant’s House between Tradition and Globalisation” at Interiors Reconfigured. Changing Materiality in the Decorative Arts of the Middle East and North Africa, 18th-20th Centuries, Vitrocentre, Romont, Switzerland. 3-4 November 2023.

“The Palazzo Biscari Museum in Catania, Sicily: Archaeology, Academies, and the work of Aristocracy” at Artistic and Architectural Heritage of the Nobility between Old and New Regimes, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Art, June 2022.

 “The Palazzo Biscari Ballroom in Catania. Lightness, Refinement and Aristocratic Distinction” at Experiencing 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.

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