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When Count Vronsky and Golenishchev's cards are sent in to Mikhailov, he is at work in his studio.
He has just had an argument with his wife, and turns it into a particularly productive bout of painting. He finishes the drawing of a man just as the cards arrive.
He makes up with his wife, forgets his drawing, and goes out to meet his Russian guests.
He's anxious about criticism, but all the same he's struck by the vision of Anna standing in the shadow of the entrance. Without being aware of what he's doing, he seizes upon the impression and stores it in his brain for possible future use.
Mikhailov does not make a good impression on his visitors. He's unfashionable, his face is not ordinary, and he's stocky, with a fidgety walk.