Three new exhibitions of French art have opened at the Cantor Arts Center. "Storied Past" offers four centuries of French drawings, "Drawn to the Body" showcases depictions of the human form and "Inspired by Temptation" centers on Odilon Redon's response to a book by Gustave Flaubert published in 1874.

"Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings from the Blanton Museum of Art" brings together selections of drawings from the Renaissance and the 17th and 18th centuries by aspiring artists at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris as well as some nonacademic works from the 19th century.

The 55 works chronicle the development of drawing during a time of innovation, revolution and evolution of materials and techniques. The show also highlights work by artists who eschewed the academic tradition.

Cantor Curator Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell will speak about the drawings in the exhibition at 5:30 p.m. July 18. Tours of the show are offered at 12:15 p.m. Thursdays and at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. "Storied Past" will be on view through Sept. 22.

"Drawn to the Body," which complements "Storied Past," features more than 30 works which explore a variety of depictions of the human form. It, too, is on view through Sept. 22.

"Inspired by Temptation: Odilon Redon and Saint Anthony" features three lithographic albums created by the French Symbolist artist as a response to Flaubert's book "The Temptation of Saint Anthony," based on legends of the third century monk's night of terrors, temptations and trepidations. The exhibition will be on view through Oct. 20.

The Cantor Arts Center is off Palm Drive at Museum Way on the campus of Stanford University. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, with evening hours until 8 p.m. Thursdays. Admission is free. Call 650-723-4177 or visit http://museum.stanford.edu.

'Walk in the Woods'

Photography by Alan McGee is featured in "A Walk in the Woods -- Landscape as Metaphor," on view through July 31 at the Portola Art Gallery. A reception for the show will be held from 1 to 4 p. m. Saturday.

McGee, who lives in Portola Valley, has captured views of woodlands in San Mateo County. He hopes that those who view the natural beauty of the area will also be awake to "the more subtle expressive possibilities" found there. He explains, "My intention is to engage the viewer in a visual dialogue with the photographic print that may act as a catalyst for the imagination."

The Portola Art Gallery is at the Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Call 650-321-0220 or visit www.portolaartgallery.com.

Ceramic sculpture

"The Works of Wanxin Zhang" opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Sanchez Art Center. The artist, who was born and educated in China, is showing sculptural works which speak to societal issues and cultural hegemony.

Zhang is currently a lecturer in the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley. The exhibition was curated by Jerry Ross Barrish.

In the center's East Gallery is "Shifting the Body: Explorations from a Female Perspective," a show of work by members of the Asian American Women Artists Association.

The third concurrent exhibition is titled "Regrets Only," featuring work by members of the Art Guild of Pacifica and others.

All three exhibitions close Aug. 11. The Sanchez Art Center is at 1220 Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. Call 650-355-1894 or visit www.sanchezartcenter.org.

Featuring The Arc

"In the Season of Dreams" opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Avenue 25 Gallery in San Mateo. The show is on view through Aug. 30.

Artists featured in the exhibit come from The Arc of San Francisco, a nonprofit organization which works with people with developmental disabilities in San Mateo County and San Francisco. For more information, contact Cassandra Baltaretu at 650-756-1304, extension 13, or visit www.thearcsf.org.

Avenue 25 Gallery is on the second floor at 32 W. 25th Ave., San Mateo. The curator is Kim McCool Nelson. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Visit http://avenue25gallery.plsinfo.org.

Information on visual and literary arts can be sent to Bonny Zanardi at Bzanardi@aol.com.