George, Lord Digby and William, Lord Russel c. 1637, or earlier
Aristocratic portraiture operated broadly within the same parameters as Royal portraiture. Just as the monarch had reason to announce his humanity as well as his authority, aristocracy had a role and claimed a sensibility. ( From the evidence of the portraits, it sometimes seems as if some aristocrats were not able to look in both directions at the same time.) There might be a quasi-feudal duty to do again.
And martial readiness remained a virtue. However, in the mean time, to be warlike and pious was not enough. Again renaissance humanism had produced the solution to the problem of redundancy for aristocrats in the post-feudal age. It had rediscovered and re-present an ideal of nobility that could persist outside of the perilous conditions of feudalism.
While some people lived under the yoke of necessity and others had economic and social power sufficient to enable them to exploit their situation, the noblest human being was the one who was above both need and greed. The aristocrat, so long as he was sufficiently inured, could have the privilege of conducting himself disinterestedly. A life of aesthetic self-improvement could be the way.