The Da Vinci Notebooks at sacred-texts.com
Of depicting night scenes.That which is entirely bereft of light is all darkness; given a night under these conditions and that you want to represent a night scene,--arrange that there shall be a great fire, then the objects which are nearest to this fire will be most tinged with its colour; for those objects which are nearest to a coloured light participate most in its nature; as therefore you give the fire a red colour, you must make all the objects illuminated by it ruddy; while those which are farther from the fire are more tinted by the black hue of night. The figures which are seen against the fire look dark in the glare of the firelight because that side of the objects which you see is tinged by the darkness of the night and not by the fire; and those who stand at the side are half dark and half red; while those who are visible beyond the edges of the flame will be fully lighted by the ruddy glow against a black background. As to their gestures, make those which are near it screen themselves with their hands and cloaks as a
defence against the intense heat, and with their faces turned away as if about to retire. Of those farther off represent several as raising their hands to screen their eyes, hurt by the intolerable glare.