The Parish of Grossmünster, the most ancient church of Zurich, published in 2005 an art contest for the creation of the windows for the central nave. Between the five proposals, in the spring of 2006, the jury chose a design of Sigmar Polke. He crafted seven windows in the nave from agate, re-establishing the early Middle Ages tradition to produce the church windows out of cut stones (mainly, alabaster). Polke cut this semi-precious stone into thin slices that would let light pass through them and give the appearance of brightly glowing walls. The brilliantly colorful result was then expanded with five figurative glass windows. The motifs feature Old Testament figures: the scapegoat, Isaac, the Son of Man, Elijah, and David. They all move in the direction of the birth of Christ and thus toward the chancel window created by Augusto Giacometti in 1933.
Polke's formidable career was bookended with work in glass. He began his artistic training in 1959 as an apprentice in a glass-painting workshop, and he completed the Grossmünster windows a year before his death.