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The palazzo that Anna and Vronsky move in to helps Vronsky maintain his ideal of being a dashing young amateur artist who has abandoned the world and ambition in favor of the woman of his dreams. He succeeds in maintaining this role for himself.
One morning when Golenishchev is visiting, the conversation turns to a Russian painter named Mikhailov, who lives and works in their town.
Vronsky speculates that Mikhailov could do a portrait of Anna.
Anna suggests that the painter instead do a portrait of Annie (their daughter).
Anna looks out the window and sees Annie with her wet nurse, a beautiful Italian woman who makes Anna jealous because Vronsky once complimented the woman's beauty.
Golenishchev looks down on Mikhailov for being poverty stricken and uneducated.
They all decide to pay him a visit and take a look at his paintings.