The Da Vinci Notebooks at sacred-texts.com
An object will display the greatest difference of light and shade when it is seen in the strongest light, as by sunlight, or, at night, by the light of a fire. But this should not be much used in painting because the works remain crude and ungraceful.
An object seen in a moderate light displays little difference in the light and shade; and this is the case towards evening or when the day is cloudy, and works then painted are tender and every kind of face becomes graceful. Thus, in every thing extremes are to be avoided: Too much light gives crudeness; too little prevents our seeing. The medium is best.
Again, lights cast from a small window give strong differences of light and shade, all the more if the room lighted by it be large, and this is not good for painting.