Eddy Merckx Bikes and M Leuven auction exclusive 'Dieric Bouts' bike for 'De Warmste Week'
An iconic bike brand and a museum collaborating? Currently, M Leuven is hosting a comprehensive exhibition of the relatively unknown Flemish Master Dieric Bouts. The exhibition, titled 'DIERIC BOUTS. Image Maker,' juxtaposes international masterpieces of the Flemish artist with contemporary photos, films, and games. This highlights how contemporary image-makers use the same visual language in portraits of sports icons as Bouts did in his devotional images of Christ and saints. Bouts' impact resonates to this day, evident in how the portrayal of Christ from the 15th century still bears resemblance to how modern icons like Eddy Merckx are depicted.
"I frequently stroll through our extensive Bouts exhibition, always eager to catch the hushed reactions of our visitors. It's truly festive, especially in the space where we visually associate a historic sports photo of Merckx with a Christ portrait by the master. A 15th-century work is still a conversation piece five centuries later. The inspiration behind Eddy Merckx Bikes creating a unique bike as a tribute to Dieric Bouts is uplifting news that brings joy to all of us at M," says Peter Bary, General Director of M Leuven.
The designers of the exclusive bike drew inspiration from 'The Last Supper,' Bouts' magnum opus. By ingeniously employing mathematical perspective, Bouts places the figure of Christ in the spotlight.
On the bike, he remains the showstopper. "The devil is in the details of the design. We prominently place Jesus and the chandelier from the masterpiece on the downtube. The distinctive tilework from the floor is echoed on the fork and rear stays. The apostles' garments adorn the seat tube. Red and white are the dominant colors of the bike, just like in 'The Last Supper.' The whole design includes a subtle patina effect, reminiscent of the natural aging process of the painting. The longer you look at the bike, the more details you discover, much like Bouts' works," says Pieter Vanheeswijck, Communication Manager at Eddy Merckx Bikes. The paintwork was done by M-Level from Ruiselede.
Bidding for the 'Dieric Bouts Pévèle C' is open from December 2 to 19. The auction is conducted through Art Auction Online, requiring an account for participation. The entire proceeds will go to the charity. Those interested in seeing the bike in person can visit the lobby of M Leuven until December 19.
Quote Pieter Vanheeswijck
'Dieric Bouts. Image Maker' continues until January 14, 2024, at M Leuven. Never before have so many works of the Flemish Master been gathered in his hometown. The public gets a completely new perspective on work more than five centuries old through a radical confrontation with today's visual culture. Additionally, Leuven hosts a festival dedicated to the Flemish Master, with a wide range of events inspiring both young and old, named New Horizons | Dieric Bouts Festival.
MORE MERCKX FROM JANUARY
The Dieric Bouts bike marks the first step in the relaunch of Eddy Merckx bikes. Jochim Aerts, CEO of Belgian Cycling Factory, states, "In January 2024, during the Velofollies bike fair, we will present the renewed range of Merckx bikes to the wider public. Through this collaboration with M Leuven, we can already show that Eddy Merckx bikes are back. And we hope that this special bike can make a significant contribution to De Warmste Week."
The Eddy Merckx Pévèle C is an all-road bike in size M, capable of handling various terrains, from smooth asphalt to narrow gravel paths. The bike is equipped with a Shimano 105 groupset, a 2x drivetrain, and a Cirrus Pro Flared cockpit. With the sturdy Forza Norte wheelset and Vittoria Rubino Pro tires (30 millimeters), the bike is ready to ride.