A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms

A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms is a painting by the Netherlandish artist Pieter Aertsen (1508–1575).wikipedia
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Still life

still-lifestill lifesstill lives
Thus, 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. 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.
This was a development by Pieter Aertsen, whose A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms (1551, now Uppsala) introduced the type with a painting that still startles.

Slaughtered Ox

Side of Beef
In front of the tavern hangs a pig carcass that is very similar to Rembrandt's painting of a slaughtered ox.
The work follows in a tradition of artworks showing butchery, for example Pieter Aertsen's A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms (1551) and Annibale Carracci's Butcher's Shop (c. 1583), and perhaps more specifically Joachim Beuckelaer's (1563).

Pieter Aertsen

Aertsen, Pieter
A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms is a painting by the Netherlandish artist Pieter Aertsen (1508–1575). Pieter Aertsen was a masterful still-life painter from Amsterdam, who worked for many years in Antwerp.

Genre art

genregenre worksgenre painter
A large painting, it depicts a peasant market scene, with an abundance of meats and other foods.

Flight into Egypt

flight to EgyptThe flight into Egyptflee to Egypt
In the background, it shows a scene from the biblical theme of the flight into Egypt, where the Virgin Mary is seen stopped on the road, giving alms to the poor.

Mary, mother of Jesus

MaryVirgin MarySaint Mary
In the background, it shows a scene from the biblical theme of the flight into Egypt, where the Virgin Mary is seen stopped on the road, giving alms to the poor.

Symbol

symbolssymbologysymbologist
Thus, 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.

Metaphor

metaphorsmetaphoricalmetaphorically
Thus, 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.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam, NetherlandsAmsterdam, The NetherlandsAmsterdam WCT
Pieter Aertsen was a masterful still-life painter from Amsterdam, who worked for many years in Antwerp.

Northern Renaissance

RenaissanceNorthernNorthern European
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.

Northern Mannerism

ManneristMannerismNorthern Mannerist
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.

Netherlands

Dutch🇳🇱the Netherlands
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.

Realism (arts)

Realismrealistrealistic
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.

Italian Renaissance

RenaissanceRenaissance ItalyItalian
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.

Oil painting

Oil on canvasoiloils
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. The artwork of A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms consists of a large painting on panel in oil, depicting a profusion of foodstuffs in a highly realistic style, while the narrative is hidden in the background, seen through the stall windows and openings.

Genre painting

genregenre paintergenre scenes
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.

Art in the Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation

huge effect on Christian artCounter-Reformation attitudes to artdecrees on images of the Council of Trent
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.

Iconoclasm

iconoclasticonoclasticiconoclasts
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.

Altarpiece

altar-piecealtarpiecesaltar piece
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.

Antwerp

Antwerp, BelgiumAntwerpenCity of Antwerp
Pieter Aertsen was a masterful still-life painter from Amsterdam, who worked for many years in Antwerp.

Food

foodstufffood productsfoods
The artwork of A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms consists of a large painting on panel in oil, depicting a profusion of foodstuffs in a highly realistic style, while the narrative is hidden in the background, seen through the stall windows and openings. The viewer's senses are distracted by the rich display of various foods – plates in the foreground, meats, ham, lard, smoked fish, pigs' legs and head, bread, butter, milk, cheese and hanging pretzels (in the left corner) – that has been spread out in front of the viewer, and the figure subject is overwhelmed by the still-life composition.

Meat

meatsmeat consumptionprocessed meat
The viewer's senses are distracted by the rich display of various foods – plates in the foreground, meats, ham, lard, smoked fish, pigs' legs and head, bread, butter, milk, cheese and hanging pretzels (in the left corner) – that has been spread out in front of the viewer, and the figure subject is overwhelmed by the still-life composition.

Lard

pork fatpig fatanimal
The viewer's senses are distracted by the rich display of various foods – plates in the foreground, meats, ham, lard, smoked fish, pigs' legs and head, bread, butter, milk, cheese and hanging pretzels (in the left corner) – that has been spread out in front of the viewer, and the figure subject is overwhelmed by the still-life composition.

Bread

breadsbreadmakingleavened bread
The viewer's senses are distracted by the rich display of various foods – plates in the foreground, meats, ham, lard, smoked fish, pigs' legs and head, bread, butter, milk, cheese and hanging pretzels (in the left corner) – that has been spread out in front of the viewer, and the figure subject is overwhelmed by the still-life composition.

Butter

Bennecultured buttermelted butter
The viewer's senses are distracted by the rich display of various foods – plates in the foreground, meats, ham, lard, smoked fish, pigs' legs and head, bread, butter, milk, cheese and hanging pretzels (in the left corner) – that has been spread out in front of the viewer, and the figure subject is overwhelmed by the still-life composition.