Mihailov sold Vronsky his picture, and agreed to paint a
portrait of Anna. On the day fixed he came and began the work.
From the fifth sitting the portrait impressed everyone,
especially Vronsky, not only by its resemblance, but by its
characteristic beauty. It was strange how Mihailov could have
discovered just her characteristic beauty. "One needs to know
and love her as I have loved her to discover the very sweetest
expression of her soul," Vronsky thought, though it was only from
this portrait that he had himself learned this sweetest
expression of her soul. But the expression was so true that he,
and others too, fancied they had long known it.
"I have been struggling on for ever so long without doing
anything," he said of his own portrait of her, "and he just
looked and painted it. That's where technique comes in."
"That will come," was the consoling reassurance given him by
Golenishtchev, in whose view Vronsky had both talent, and what
was most important, culture, giving him a wider outlook on art.
Golenishtchev's faith in Vronsky's talent was propped up by his
own need of Vronsky's sympathy and approval for his own articles
and ideas, and he felt that the praise and support must be
In another man's house, and especially in Vronsky's palazzo,
Mihailov was quite a different man from what he was in his
studio. He behaved with hostile courtesy, as though he were
afraid of coming closer to people he did not respect. He called
Vronsky "your excellency," and notwithstanding Anna's and
Vronsky's invitations, he would never stay to dinner, nor come
except for the sittings. Anna was even more friendly to him than
to other people, and was very grateful for her portrait. Vronsky
was more than cordial with him, and was obviously interested to
know the artist's opinion of his picture. Golenishtchev never
let slip an opportunity of instilling sound ideas about art into
Mihailov. But Mihailov remained equally chilly to all of them.
Anna was aware from his eyes that he liked looking at her, but he
avoided conversation with her. Vronsky's talk about his painting
he met with stubborn silence, and he was as stubbornly silent
when he was shown Vronsky's picture. He was unmistakably bored
by Golenishtchev's conversation, and he did not attempt to oppose