Even though it wasn't intended as a compliment when I was called 'Arroumi', a Roman, by teenagers in southern Morocco, I nevertheless took it as one. I'm sure, being artists themselves, Roman Sustov's parents took more care when they called him the same thing. But even if they didn't, their son's work still draws heavily on the antique past.
Probably to find a similar melancholy refinement, you need to search out the images from old Constantinople preserved in modern Istanbul. Somehow he appears to have inherited the exquisite skill and formality of the old Greek artists. As Sustov suggests, it is the cities that travel.
He has an almost weird mastery of various techniques. The red image is a lithograph, the two black and white ones are etchings, the one above is mixed media, and the one below, believe it or not, is a linocut. But I don't think you can learn to be like this. Somehow he also finds himself with skills and subtlety reminiscent of the artists of the Eastern Roman Empire. It was different from the West. When Manuel II Paleologus was the guest of Henry IV at Eltham outside London in 1400, the court were deeply impressed by the diginity and simplicity of the emperor. He travelled for two years across western Europe to save his city from conquest, but to no avail.
After that, it was orthodox Russia that claimed to be the third Rome. I think Sustov's images inhabit that borderland between ourselves (I mean the West, in general!) and that whole area of culture and history that many Europeans know nothing much about. When I wrote to Sustov soon after I'd bought the top image (it shows Budapest), he said the client had asked for a more conventional image. For a long time I found it one of the most satisfying of his works for that reason. But it isn't really typical and his mind is obviously set on other things.
Most of the images here are taken from his website www.sustovart.com/ .It is well worth a look and, unlike many of the artists I post on, his work is easy to buy. I was lucky, though. I found a Czech dealer on ebay selling mine and incredibly no one else bid.