The palazzo that Anna and Vronsky have moved into helps Vronsky enter into the role of a cosmopolitan artist rather than a Russian landowner. Golenishchev visits one morning, and they discuss Mikhailov, a Russian painter in town. Vronsky muses that Mikhailov could do a portrait of Anna, but Anna wants him to paint Annie, her daughter. Though Golenishchev scorns Mikhailov for being impoverished, Anna and Vronsky are intrigued by the idea of the painter’s talent, and they decide to visit.
Vronsky is good at playing the role of a dilettante amateur painter, since he knows exactly what to do to look the part and pretend to fill that niche in society, but since he lacks deep emotional passion that overtakes him, he will never be a great artist. However, he can still recognize true talent when he sees it, suggesting a hint of a soul under Vronsky’s two-dimensional veneer.