"Now in space there is no longer any measurement. Now you see infinity....in the Milky Way, now there are billions and billions ....The sense of measurement and of time no longer exists. Before it could be like that...but today it is certain, because man speaks of billions of years, of thousands and thousands of billions of years to reach, and so, here is the void, man is reduced to nothing...When man realises ....that he is nothing, nothing, that he is pure spirit he will no longer have materialistic ambitions... man will become like God, he will become spirit. This is the end of the world and the liberation of matter, of man ...man will become a simple being like a flower, a plant will only live through his intelligence, through the beauty of nature he will purify himself with blood, because he constantly lives with blood...And my art too is all based on this purity on this philosophy of nothing, which is not a destructive nothing, but a creative nothing.... And the slash, and the holes, the first holes, were not the destruction of the painting...it was a dimension beyond the painting, the freedom to conceive art through any means, through any form." (cited in Lucio Fontana, exh. cat., Palazzo delle Espsizioni, Rome, 1998, p. 246.)
La Fine di Dio ("The End of God") is the title that Fontana gave to a series of 38 oval shaped paintings executed in an eighteen month period between 1963 and 1964. Originally exhibited at the Galleria dell'Arte in Milan in 1963 under the title "the Eggs" and at a 1964 exhibition in Paris at the Galerie Iris Clert under the title "Les Oeufs célestes" ("The celestial eggs") the Fine di Dio paintings represent the culmination of Fontana's art and the coming together of all his artistic concerns in one perfect form and within one perfect resolution.
For Fontana, the title he gave these works, La Fine di Dio, meant "infinity, the inconceivable thing, the end of figuration, the principle of the void." (interview with Carlo Cisventi 1963, ibid p. 244.) As with his buchi and attese the enlarged holes in the canvas were intended as gestural metaphors of an opening onto an infinite and dimensionless space that is beyond the intellectual capacity of man to understand and therefore beyond his notion of God.
Fontana's use of an oval form - a universal symbol of creation and regeneneration - is linked to the roundness of the large terracotta spheres of his "Nature" cycle of 1959-60 which represented vast seeds that appeared to be splitting open and ready to propagate. In La Fine di Dio the elegant calm of the oval form contrasts directly with the violence of the deep holes that have been gouged from the canvas in a way that relates closely to Fontana's most recent oils whose deep chasms of blackness Fontana descibed as "meditations on the terror of space and the awesome grandeur of catastrophe". For him, these punctured voids with their wound-like encrusted emanations of oil paint represented "man's suffering in space, the suffering of the astronaut, who is squashed and compressed with instruments penetrating his skin...The man who flies in space is a new kind of man, with new sensations, above all painful." (L. Fontana, ibid, p. 244.)
Similarly, the crater-like forms of the punctured wounds on the canvas surface were also related to Fontana's cosmic vision. Although the first ever close-up photographs of the moon's surface were only transmitted from the spacecraft Ranger 7 in July of 1964, several months after Fontana began working on the Fine di Dio series, the moon was an important source of inspiration for Fontana. Talking about his Nature series of sculptures, many of whose forms echo those of the Fine di Dio, Fontana recalled, "I was thinking of those worlds, of the moon with these...holes, this terrible silence that causes us anguish, and the astronauts in a new world."
In this sense therefore, Fontana's Fine di Dio paintings can be seen as objects that are complete unto themselves for they are a supremely elegant spatial expression of the infinite, within a single unified and recogniseable form. Like independent universes, the Fine di Dio enclose the tortured reality of man's physical suffering and his fear of the dimensionless void of space, within one calming universal image of fertilty and regeneration.