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Anna and Vronsky admire a small painting, which Mikhailov says he had forgotten about; it is out because it has been put out to be sold. When the visitors leave, Mikhailov continues to work on the Pilate painting. Vronsky, Anna, and Golenishchev discuss the small painting, which Vronsky says he will buy.
Because Vronsky cannot assert his masculinity and talent in Mikhailov’s studio through artistic prowess, he asserts his dominance through purchasing power, insisting on buying the small, forgotten painting that he and Anna like.