Alexander Moen, vice president for mission programs at the National Geographic Society, noted that the project’s leader, Maurizio Seracini, an engineer and director of the interdisciplinary center in San Diego, had received approval from city and state art authorities for his examination, and was working with restorers from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, one of the most respected restoration institutions in Italy.
“It’s not like we indiscriminately made holes on Vasari’s frescoes,” Alexander Moen said. “We are confident in the approach that was taken, which was deliberate and not decided on alone but with the critical agencies that are stakeholders.”
National Geographic began supporting Mr. Seracini’s project four years ago. Mr. Moen said that after an initial investment of $250,000 paid to the City of Florence in exchange for the right to publish the results, the costs keep increasing, though he declined to comment on the final tally. National Geographic plans to present television and magazine specials about the project next year.