Although the painting seems to be at first sight an ordinary still life concentrating on foodstuffs, it is rich with symbolism; it in fact hides a symbolic religious meaning, and embodies a visual metaphor encouraging spiritual life. Aertsen made a name for himself during the 1550s painting scenes from everyday life in a naturalistic manner.
Pieter Aertsen was a masterful still-life painter from Amsterdam, who worked for many years in Antwerp. He was a representative of the 16th-century Northern Renaissance style, more specifically Northern Mannerism, a new era for painting in the Netherlands and the German countries characterised by precise observation and naturalism that gave the art of painting impulses of realism. Many Northern artists travelled to Italy to study, where they were influenced by the innovations of the Italian Renaissance and in turn influenced the Italian Renaissance painters with techniques such as the newly developed technique of oil painting.
Aertsen is regarded as one of the founders of the still life painting. His style was particularly new: he mixed characteristics of the still life and the genre painting in his works, which, like A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms, are seen as pioneers in the still life genre that grew out of details of paintings containing figure subjects. His compositions in the Flemish tradition were remarkably original, like this painting of a meat stall, with a large, life-size still life in the foreground and three smaller scenes appearing through openings in the background.
Since the Protestants rejected the tradition of Catholic arts, many of Aertsen's paintings were destroyed by the iconoclasts, especially his altarpieces, some of which were chopped into pieces. Only the parts of the paintings containing the less religious details were spared. Thus, the era of religious paintings declined in the Protestant countries. Aertsen painted A Meat Stall a few years before he moved to Amsterdam from Antwerpen.
Accrding to wikipedia.