I don't know too much about alchemy, so I can't be of a big help.
But the following might be of interest:
Barbara of Brandenburg, wife of Lodovico the Turk in Mantova, was daughter of Johann, Margrave_of_Brandenburg-Kulmbach ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John,_Marg ... g-Kulmbach
A1. Johann "der Alchemist", renounced his rights of succession, *1406, +Baiersdorf 16.11.1464, bur Heilsbronn; m.before 26.5.1416 Barbara of Saxe-Wittenberg (*after 1406, +Bayreuth 10.10.1465, bur there)
* B1. Rudolf, *Trebitz, Saxony 2.2.1424, +X.1424
* B2. Barbara, *1423, +Mantova 7.11.1481, bur there; m.Mantova 12.11.1433 Luigi III Gonzaga, Marchese of Mantua (*5.6.1414 +12.6.1478)
* B3. Elisabeth, *1425, +after 13.1.1465; 1m: 27.8.1440 Duke Joachim of Pomerania (*ca 1427 +1451); 2m: 5.3.1454 Duke Wratislaw X of Pomerania (+17.12.1478)
* B4. Dorothea, *1430, +Kalundborg 25.11.1495, bur Roskilde Cathedral; 1m: Copenhagen 12.9.1445 King Christopher III of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Pfgf von Neunburg u.Neumarkt (*26.2.1416 +6.1.1448); 2m: Copenhagen 28.10.1449 King Christian I of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Gf von Oldenburg (*II.1426 +21.5.1481); Christian apparently married her, the dowager Queen, in order to help win the Danes to his side in his successful efforts to gain the Danish throne
* B5. [illegitimate] Fritz, Knight, fl 1456
o C1. Magdalena von Brandenburg; m.Giberto Borromeo, Count of Arona (*1463 +27.2.1527)
o C2. Franziska von Brandenburg; m.1477 Borso I da Corregio, Count of Corregio (+1504)
... when Sigismondo had been in Italy (1431-33), he also crossed Mantavo. Likely at this opportunity it was arranged, that Lodovico Gonzaga (then 21 years old) should marry Barbara (then 10 years old) later (I don't know, if Johann himself accompanied the Emperor).
When Barbara of Brandenburg really arrived in Mantova(1436/37), it took not long, till Lodovico "left home" and went with a band of other young warriors straight to the duke of Milan. What really happened is rather dark reported, at least there evolved a constant family trouble in Mantova between once the reigning father and the two eldest sons of Mantova, who all changed their participation in the current Milan-Venice war in the manner, that they mostly fought at tho different sides.
Brother Carlo was then some time handled as "husband in spe" for Bianca Maria Visconti, before the version "Leonello with Bianca Maria" was discussed, which finally was finished with the already earlier "Bianca Maria - Francesco Sforza" version. The struggle between the brothers continued till the death of Carlo (in 1456; in different "historic versions" he died 1450 or 1478, but this should be errors).
In the time, when Barbara came to Mantova, a printing press appeared somehow in the use for the court of Ferrara, involved is a person called "Mantovano". It isn't clear, if this has anything to do with Mantova, it might be just the name of a family, who mainly was present in Padova and who somehow was connected to paper-trade and possibly "early printing" ... but it is a strange accident, that two possibly German elements appear at the time.
In this time Leonello d'Este (Ferrara) was married to a Gonzaga daughter (the marriage took place 1435-39), so Leonello was then - for some time - brother-in-law to Barbara of Brandenburg.
Whatever the precise relations, it seems probable, that an important German-Italian marriage caused side effects with cultural exchange between the region Mantova-Ferrara and the region around Nurremberg (which was for one side the major place of Johann the Alchemist, cause Kulmbach, in far distance to that what is called Brandenburg, and Nürnberg have only 100 km distance - and Nürnberg was ALSO at the other side one of the early centers for the development of printing technology).
Well, the really interesting question is, what's all behind such a term "Alchemy". Printing seems to be easily also
also "alchemy", as it demands a lot of techniques, which look like a "miracle" to those, who don't understand the process.
Before the printing press in Ferrara we have for Italy only notes of woodcut technique in Florence (1430) and the more general note from Venice October 1441, that "earlier" Venice had a "printing mystery", which now (in 1441) had become also known to others. Further there is a note about woodcut printing very early (1422 ... or 1421 ?) very far in the South of Italy, which likely refers to a use of wood cut technique in Aragon/Spain (it's the time, when Alfonso of Aragon prepared to get the the throne of Naples).
Barbara von Brandenburg is said to have had a large letter exchange with Bianca Maria Visconti later. Well, they've nearly the same age.
Considering the situation of the half-years-stay of Bianca Maria in Ferrara 1440/1441, it might well be, that for some time Barbara of Brandenburg also joined the assumed happy-girls-community then, Mantova and Ferrara aren't very far (about 90 km, and the larger part might have been done with a ship), and the general wars had taken a pause.
Well, somehow as an idea ... if you wish to research connections between alchemy and Tarot, you need the names and biographies of the of persons, who made alchemy or have been suspected to make alchemy. And then you can compare that with those biographies of persons, which definitely were in "Trionfi-card-business".
For Kulmbach, which became a central place for this dynasty, we have, that the was involved in general trade (a major trade-route to Bamberg, Nürnberg, Eger, Hof und Leipzig, from which especially Nürnberg - Leipzig should have been most interesting).
Its economical conditions depended on textiles, especially "Tuchmacher, Barchentweber, Färber und Seidensticker". Textiles were important in this time, Florence became very rich about textile-trade. "Alchemical parts" of this productions might be textiles colors, as for printing one also need to know about printing colors.
http://mitglied.multimania.de/geya/Know ... farbe1.htm
This German article gives reason to assume, that considerable progress in the production of "Druckfarben" happened in the first half of 15th century (so before Gutenberg), so relative precisely in the time of Johann the alchemist.
An interesting detail it is, that Kulmbach was heavily destroyed by an attack of the Hussites in 1430, short before the emperor made his visit to Italy.
Having written this so far with all this modern alchemy of the search engine I stumbled about that, what one might interpret as the "unexspected context" ...
"Guttenberg" is a location 15 km of Kulmbach. Since long times ... before Johann the alchemist ... there was a castle and still nowadays there is a castle, and so likely also in the time of Johann the Alchemist. And naturally it somehow belonged to Johann the alchemist.
From Johann the alchemist I got the opinion ... for the reasons described above ... that he worked in his "alchemistic studies" with colors for printing and textiles.
The man Gutenberg ... chosen as the greatest hero of the millenium 1001-2000 ... now has the following story:
Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz, the youngest son of the upper-class merchant Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, and his second wife Else Wyrich, who was the daughter of a shopkeeper. According to some accounts Friele was a goldsmith for the bishop at Mainz, but most likely he was involved in the cloth trade. Gutenberg's year of birth is not precisely known but was most likely around 1398.
John Lienhard, technology historian, says "Most of Gutenberg's early life is a mystery. His father worked with the ecclesiastic mint. Gutenberg grew up knowing the trade of goldsmithing." This is supported by historian Heinrich Wallau, who adds, "In the 14th and 15th centuries his [descendants] claimed an hereditary position as ...the master of the archiepiscopal mint. In this capacity they doubtless acquired considerable knowledge and technical skill in metal working. They supplied the mint with the metal to be coined, changed the various species of coins, and had a seat at the assizes in forgery cases."
Wallau adds, "His surname was derived from the house inhabited by his father and his paternal ancestors 'zu Laden, zu Gutenberg'. The house of Gänsfleisch was one of the patrician families of the town, tracing its lineage back to the thirteenth century." Patricians (aristocrats) in Mainz were often named after houses they owned. Around 1427 the name zu Gutenberg, after the family house in Mainz, is documented to have been used for the first time.
In 1411, there was an uprising in Mainz against the patricians, and more than a hundred families were forced to leave. As a result, the Gutenbergs are thought to have moved to Eltville am Rhein (Alta Villa), where his mother had an inherited estate. According to historian Heinrich Wallau, "All that is known of his youth is that he was not in Mainz in 1430. It is presumed that he migrated for political reasons to Strassburg, where the family probably had connections." He is assumed to have studied at the University of Erfurt, where there is a record of a student, in 1419, named Johannes de Alta villa.
Nothing is now known of Gutenberg's life for the next fifteen years, but in March 1434, a letter by him indicates that he was living in Strassburg, where he had some relatives on his mother's side. He also appears to have been a goldsmith member enrolled in the Strassburg militia. In 1437, there is evidence that he was instructing a wealthy tradesman on polishing gems, but where he had acquired this knowledge is unknown. In 1436/37 his name also comes up in court in connection with a broken promise of marriage to a woman from Strassburg, Ennelin. Whether the marriage actually took place is not recorded. Following his father's death in 1419, he is mentioned in the inheritance proceedings.
Let's summarize: The father ... "most likely he was involved in the cloth trade
" ... traded with textiles. If Kulmbach was important for textile trade in this time, he knew about Kulmbach ... which has a proud distance of 300 km.
In Mainz the not too small river Main, proud 524 km in length, meets the bigger river Rhein. Naturally the Main had formed a trading route, which naturally also was active in 15th century. The Main runs in direction to Kulmbach and through Kulmbach. 386 km of the 524 km of the Main are still nowadays used as "Bundeswasserstrasse", which means, there are ships on it.
A trader in Mainz naturally would manage deals between imports from the upper Main and traders, who operated along the Rhine. For a Mainzer merchant (dealing in clothes), it would be natural to engage also in a second business, for instance "goldsmith", as it is suspected by others for the father.
A business connection between Kulmbach - Mainz looks naturally.
Gutenberg possibly studied in Erfurt (noted in 1419 - possibly). If the young Gutenberg took the way via Erfurt, he likely would have followed the Main till near to Kulmbach and then had to take the land route to Erfurt to the North at the trading route between Erfurt and Nürnberg. Other shorter ways would have to fight with a lot of mountains.
If one assumes - considering the later business -, that Gutenberg studied in his "missing 15 years" the early printing technology and business, it's natural to assume, that he was in this period ALSO in Nürnberg.
Is there a context ? ... I don't know.
Johann the Alchemist started his life - naturally - not as alchemist ..
... but in 1433 he got a fine book: das Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit.
In 1434 Gutenberg returned to Mainz ...
Well, it's a question, if this has a context ...
Friedrich I, still living father of Johann the alchemist, recognized, that Johann wouldn't be the right man for a big territory like Brandenburg. So he ruled things in the manner (1437), that Johann was reduced to the Kulmbach/Bayreuth region and that his younger brother ruled in Brandenburg.
Adam McLean, a member here, and his alchemistic dreams.